Monday, September 27, 2010

Commercial Complaint #3: Zoosk

Ads for online dating services tend to bug me anyway, but in my best moments, I’d like to think that the use of technology to find love isn’t always a bad thing. For the website Zoosk, however, dating is not at all about love. Clearly it is about sex, disguised a women’s fantasy/romance. Watch any of the ads closely and you’ll see that the women hovering around the laptop are not only dreaming of that perfect romantic sexual partner, but also expecting the guy to do all the work of making that romantic magic happen. As offensive as that should be to both men and women, I’ve tried to just turn off the cranky old man in my brain and say “to each his own.”
One of their ads caught my attention recently, however, and I just couldn’t let it go. In this ad, a woman has been set up on a blind date. The guy comes over and seems okay. She has him eat something while she appears to get something from another part of house or apartment. Her giant dog then crawls on top of him. Then a cat jumps on the couch and it is clear he is allergic. All this time, by the way, the guy is polite.
When the woman reenters, he asks, “Is this shellfish?” and she sees his bloated, red face. The man clearly is allergic, but her reaction is horror. In the next scene, she tells her friends, “I think I’ll stick to Zoosk for all my dating.” And the other women nod and murmur agreement.

So let me get this straight. The experience was bad for HER because the guy with allergies had the gall to come into her house and be allergic to animals that she doesn’t take any time to corral and the food she didn’t bother to ask about? It must be HIS fault that his face looked like Jimmy Glick on steroids. Maybe it is Mom’s fault for not vetting the guy before setting her up. (After all, no part of dating is about getting to know someone for yourself; it is about your good time.)
Hey! Bitches like this should not be allowed to date. Don’t even get me started on their unrealistic expectations of men or romance. Women with these values sometimes actually procreate and then make tiny little bitches or take the balls off their male offspring with years of emotional abuse powered by their inevitable bitterness. Hey lady, grow up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Commerical Complaint #2: Volzwagon Routan

Am I the only person who finds this commercial disturbing. The Volzwagon people, I presume, are trying to tap into a game that a number of people play where the first person to see a Volzwagon punches someone next to them, and shouts out the color of the vehicle. People in America have done this for years though only with the beetles, not other models from the company. And I guess the advertisers are trying to show that this minivan is fun and not just some big box for carting one’s screaming kids. The ad states that this is the “only minivan with the soul of a Volzwagon.”
But I have to take issue with the idea that punching people is funny in the first place. I especially think it is offensive that the goal of the family to drive around the block and watch other people hurting each other. The kids clearly enjoy being the center of attention (what kid doesn’t?), but they are the cause of dozens of little acts of violence. This is funny?
What does this say about our culture when it is humorous to not only inflict pain on others, but to be its cheerful cause? What kind of people have so much time and are so sick as to think this is great family time?

I get upset all the time about the way men, particularly fathers, are portrayed in television shows and commercials. Usually that is because fathers are often portrayed as stupid, bumbling idiots whose lack of cool gets in the way of what is important to teenagers. But this “cool dad” should be ashamed of himself. Rather, those who created this character should be ashamed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Music Notes – Black Elk Speaks

On one level, I think this is an interesting project to listen to. Medeski, Martin and Wood drummer Billy Martin (and sometimes a few others) uses percussion instruments that most listeners are not familiar with, and the result is often quite enjoyable. On the other hand, I  I would have liked this project more overall had I been able to see and hear it, say in a recital or as part of some gathering or some DVD release. I just seem to have lost the thread of what Martin, an intelligent and talented musician, was after here. I like the idea of honoring the words and ideas of someone as interesting and thought provoking as Black Elk. But even after several listens, many of the tunes (should we call the tracks this?) sound the same.
Perhaps, my ear is listening for melodies that aren’t supposed to be there. I suspect that Martin has a some sort of philosophical statement up his sleeve, but it is one I'm clearly not qualified to comprehend.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Bookmarks – Earlier Poems (Franz Wright)

The collection contains the first four books by a talented and insightful poet who has taken journeys of pain many cannot fathom, but many of us have trod before. Perhaps darker than the books Wright is best known for, we see struggles with alcoholism, intense loneliness, and sanity. Rorschach Test is probably the best of the four, but each book is thought provoking and painfully beautiful.
Was upset at how these verses were sometimes badly reproduced on my Nook, but that was pretty much the only distraction I had with this solid collection.

A number of Wright’s poems can be found here. The title poem in his latest volume, Wheeling Motel, and some links can be found here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Music Notes – Air Space

Have really enjoyed this collection of funky jazz numbers by Dallas sax man Ron Jones. The last tune is an interesting cover of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years," but the rest are originals. Some of the tunes may be a little too close smooth jazz for the tastes of a few, but that is may be the good production and accessibility of the material talking. Of course, this is also a project that is over ten years old, but I do not think it sounds dated.
Jones plays alto, soprano, and tenor on these songs and even a few keyboards. If you can find this, and love good saxophone, it is well worth a listen.