Super Sunday’s Unnameable One

American English is a relaxed, anything-goes affair. Swear all you want, or make up words, or mangle the grammar and it’s fine. There are still a few words and phrases that stop the music and make all the cowboys turn around, like the n-bomb or the c-word, but the sharp corners on those are being worn down too. Euphemisms for death and other bodily functions persist but without serious effect; saying “gravedigger” instead of “funeral director” is an eccentricity and not an abomination.

But there are forbidden words and phrases, just forbidden not to all. Important temple priests, once ordained, must not use these without permission and sacrifice, on pain of severe punishment.

Two of these are “The Superbowl” and “The Olympics.”

Ordinary people are allowed to say “The Olympics are less exciting this year!” or “Come to my Superbowl party.”

However, those who sell, or promote, or even report professionally are forbidden to use these phrases unless they’ve given an expensive sacrifice to the appropriate temple. If a bar has a Superbowl Super Happy Hour, or a snack company suggests a Superbowl Dip Bowl, or a newspaper has a special Olympic Games section, an inquisition of attorneys arrives and begins punishment.

This is why confusing advertisements appear saying things like “Get ready for the Big Game with Triscuits!” or “FOX Sports is your Summer Games coverage HQ!” Brahmin who utter these things without having sacrificed and cleansed are struck down by God’s hands in the form of intellectual property lawyers.

News media are stuck in a theological No Man’s Land where they tussle with the priests. They say “we’re reporting on events! We’re atheists, and you can’t judge us for the holy words!” The guardians of the temple disagree, and blood is shed.

So, a happy Super Sunday to all! Enjoy the gladiators, the entertainments, and the snacks. But spare a thought for those for whom this is holy, and for those persecuted for penetrating a hermetic sanctuary forbidden only to them. Without them, all our commercial pleasures would fade into the shadows to join the lost power of profanity and euphemism.

They’ve come to take my music.

I heard today that the Pogues were used in a Subaru commercial. Haven’t seen it. I hope it’s “Sally MacLennane.” This isn’t quite as bad/good as “Blister in the Sun” advertising fast food (BLURGH!) but it’s a little surprising.

My generation (I’m 45) is now the target of semi-random generational marketing. Many of us are established and have extra money (note: if you are in this group please contact me). We’re also dominating the marketing business itself right now, so the lazy ad person will remember what lit up the night in 1986 and think “that’s what will nail it!”

In this spirit I offer some suggestions to those who want to reach the semi-lucrative market of Gen X middle-aged people, those of us who aren’t $20K in debt with no house and chronic medical problems. For instance. Let’s move on.

Shipbuilding,” by Elvis Costello. A couple dancing slowly in the sunset on the deck of a ship somewhere in the Caribbean. “Is it worth it?” he sings, as he swings her around in his arms and she smiles upwards. V/O describes selling points, ad ends with Elvis returning to sing “we should be diving for pearls.”

Lost in the Supermarket,” by the Clash. Song plays as mopey 40ish housewife pushes cart around drab yet overlit market, looking at identical cans. Red tag catches her eye, prominently featuring supermarket loyalty card logo. She picks up a jar and smiles: it’s Goober, a delight of her childhood. Outro with slowing fading bassline and slogan on screen: FOUND.

I was going to put some reggae in here but that’s all been heavily prepped by Caribbean Vacation Culture and marijuana. On we go.

I Need Love,” LL Cool J. Middle-aged African-American professional guy driving his upscale SUV through traffic, frustrated. Everything goes wrong, traffic, drink spills on him, phone rings and it’s his jerk boss, etc. Finally arrives home to wife and kids who open door both holding Cokes, and handing him one. The three enjoy the beverage on the porch. Slogan on screen, “COKE” fades into “LOVE.”

Senses Working Overtime,” XTC. Attractive woman of a certain age clearly plagued by multiple allergies. Sneezing shot, eye rubbing shot, pulling back in terror from plate of food. OTC medicine introduced. Closing shot with happy woman enjoying some if not all of her sensuous experience in life.

“The One I Love,” R.E.M. Flower delivery. Not much else to say here.

I Will Dare,” The Replacements. Parallel shots of hopeful-looking man and woman of a certain age looking at computer screens, reading emails, on the phone, meeting. Clearly some sparks in the air, shared laughter, fade into new couple walking down the street away from camera. Logo and url of dating service.

and finally,

Debaser,” Pixies. 2015 Hyundai Andalusia minivan.

What does this “toy” require of us?

Give me back my filet-o-ghost

The mechanical fish wants us to return the fast-food meal consisting of dismembered and reconstituted real fish that has been fried and then frozen and then reheated and sold at a McDonalds. How are we to respond? Is this a Scrooge/Marley scenario? Is the mechanical fish a vengeful ghost? Can we “give back” this item to the mechanical revenge ghost fish in any way that is meaningful? Why won’t it shut up? How did we get to this place? SHIELD ME FROM THE FISH

How Green Was My Upper Middle Class

When I was a child in the 1970s, there was something called The Ecology.

During the 1960s, some of the grownups had noticed that there was a lot of pollution, too much garbage, and a possibility that we might run out of things completely. They set out to reduce industrial and personal pollution, manage garbage better, and use things more efficiently.

“The Ecology,” as presented to us kids, was a thing that had to be preserved and kept clean. We were shown pictures and films of littered beaches, sad birds with trash on them, disgusting goop in bodies of water, and huge ugly smokestack factories spewing poison. What was to be done?

Two things: we were not to litter, and we were to pick up litter. The Ecology would stay dirty and get dirtier if we failed at these tasks. It was implied that the sad birds would still be covered with garbage and that things would get dirtier and dirtier forever.

There wasn’t much said about the smokestacks, the goop in the water, or any of the more complicated things the grownups had to work on. It was generally admitted that people had to change things around and stop treating the world as a wastebasket, and the grownups said they’d do that.

When I was a young adult in the 1980s, there was something called The Environment.

Despite putting filters on the smokestacks, stopping the goo from getting into the water, making cars a less dirty, and picking up a lot of litter, the grownups still had problems. Poisons were seeping into the groundwater, spray cans were carving up the atmosphere, fish populations were diving, and rainforests were being chopped up.

The Environment needed protection. Stopping litter and toning down the industrial pollution was fine, but now we needed other things. As young adults, we were asked to stop using spray cans and styrofoam. Additionally we were asked to recycle some things, to protest some of the more egregious industrial practices, and to purchase items that were good for the rainforest in some way. Particular companies were held up as examples of evil for turning rainforest into cheeseburgers or dumping crude oil on penguins; we were to boycott them. Finally, we were supposed to give cash or time to organizations that stopped bad behavior by companies or tried to preserve bits of natural beauty.

It was generally admitted that people had to change things around and stop grinding everything up into consumer products, that we should use things more than once, and that we should change our consumer behavior to reward or punish those who were selling us things.

Starting in the 1990s, a concept arrived called Green. It’s still with us.

Green is an adjective instead of a noun. If something is green, it is helpful to the environment or the ecology, or something like it. A policy can be green. An organization can be green. A person or a technology or a restaurant or even a web page can be green. There’s a lot of good done with this adjective: efficient technologies and alternative power sources, for example. But most importantly, a lifestyle can be green. As with other American lifestyles, green comprises magazines, television, social networks, and products. Lots and lots of products. Food, packaging, clothing, cars, appliances, services, and entire brands are green.

It is generally assumed that people need to take on a green lifestyle and purchase products that are labeled as such. The best demonstration of the lifestyle is to purchase as many products and services offered by lifestyle publications and media and show them to others as a demonstration of green lifestyle.

WHOOPS!

THE DAYTONA 500 MASTER RACE IS ON

“This number is very respected,” Earnhardt said. “Numbers have personalities. Numbers do talk. Numbers do kind of reach out and grab you. Some of the other options just didn’t do that.”

Junior’s taken the number 88, because his step-mom won’t give him Dad’s #8, and his grandfather had #88.

Comedy gold is about to ensue as NASCAR, Junior, and the press discover how much white supremacist neo-Nazi skinheads love that number.

The first time a gang of those guys dressed all in Juniorwear beats the hell out of gays/blacks/cops will be a fine moment for NASCAR, as they’re dragged back into the glorious past they’re trying to market their way out of.

thanks for the news item, trinnit!