If you thought the Cingular ads featuring MLK's historic I Have a Dream speech was appalling, Apple has gone and raised the bar. Their homepage recently featured an image of Rosa Parks on the bus with, presumably, the embodiment of Apple graciously sitting behind her.
Think Different, my ass. Whatever the flaws with the Cingular commercial (from the grotesque use of a symbol of our country's greatest ambitions to use cellphones to the participation in the devaluing of Rev. King by his estate), at least Cingular didn't pretend to be heroes in the struggle for black emancipation.
Apple should be ashamed of themselves. I'm surprised that nobody reported rumblings from the Capitol Rotunda, were Rosa Parks was certainly rolling over in her coffin.
Also from Stay Free!: Advertising Claims the Dead (issue #17, 2000)
Strawberry Shortcake in Leather?
A French company recently petitioned the EU intellectual property court for a trademark on the smell of strawberries. In a shocking development, the following logic failed to sway the Court:
Paris-based Eden Sarl wanted to use the smell in soaps, face cream, stationery, leather goods and clothing.... The company argued that while strawberries may look and taste different, they all smell the same, and as a result could be trademarked.
It's a good thing the Court stepped in when it did: Eden Sarl's next logical step would be to claim confusion in the marketplace and request that the sale of strawberries be halted.
Looking for Brooklyn doormen
Attn. Brooklynites: We're looking for doormen who work in Brooklyn residential buildings to interview for the next issue of Stay Free! (which will be out in February 2006).
If you or any Brooklynites you know live in a doorman building and think your doorman would be up for talking to a stranger about his life and his work -- and letting us take photos -- please let me know: stay.free (at) verizon.net.
Carrie speaking at Rutgers - Thurs. Nov. 3
In the event that you find yourself in New Brunswick, NJ, next week, I'm giving a talk on subliminal advertising (based on my Stay Free! article) as part of the Rutgers Program Council's "Truth in the Media" series:
Rutgers Student Center, Multipurpose Room - 8 pm
Admission is free.
Martha Stewart Living, indeed
Fresh out of prison, Martha Stewart has designed the ultimate consumer product: an entire Martha Stewart subdivision.
The omnipresent domestic diva has extended her brand yet again, partnering with developer KB Home to create a New England-style neighborhood of 650 houses in [Cary, NC, an ] affluent Raleigh suburb.
Notice how she made sure it is nowhere near her Hamptons estate.
The article continues:
[Potential buyers] will be able to choose from 12 models in townhomes and single-family dwellings... Three house designs are based on homes Stewart owns in Maine and New York state, and options for interior features in all models -- from wainscoting to light fixtures to paint colors and flooring -- were chosen by Stewart's design team.
The above is shortly followed by:
"When they're making their decision in a homogenized landscape, you have to have something that sets you apart..." said Rick Ohmann, vice president of sales for St. Lawrence Homes.
Yeah, so homeowners can choose from the Everyday Rustic layout in peach, Green Tea, or Ivory... I know I'm taking this out of context and all, but isn't selecting a Martha Stewart house to avoid homogenity like fighting fast-food chains by buying up all of their burgers?
Even though Martha World will be in an affluent suburb, the homes -- priced from $150,000 to $400,000 -- are considerably cheaper than others in the area. So, like Stewart's K-Mart line, the subdivision is geared to the lower-budget crowd...which, um, I guess includes me.
(Thanks to Germaine Fodor for the tip!)
Saved Premillenialist Christians Shouldn't Drive
I'm sure everyone here has been driving and seen the bumper sticker that reads "In case of Rapture, car will be unmanned." While this never fails to inspire some very action-movie style daydreams and exciting video game premises, it also brings up a far more practical issue: should saved Christians be allowed to drive?
One would think that, if we don't grant driver's licences to narcoleptics, epileptics, or other people who may, at random, lose all control of their careening vehicle, we sure as hell won't grant a license to someone who may just up and disappear without warning. But, this never seems to come up.
That fundamentalist, evangelical, end-times-anticipating Christians seek to create or alter legislation to support their beliefs is not exactly news. And, of course, it's well within their rights to petition and badger and seek to achieve their goals of teaching religious pseudoscience in schools, or keeping gay people from marrying, and so on-- but it seems to me that if they are really going to be forthright in their goals of altering the laws of the United States to fit their theology, they can't just pick and choose the laws they want. To really be taken seriously, they need to go all the way, to do the right thing and press for legislation stipulating that anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts cannot safely pilot a motorized vehicle or similar heavy machinery.
I'm willing also to consider legislation that would provide for them the right to pilot small, possibly electric city-cars that are speed-limited to 25 MPH, contain adequate warning lights and signage, and, upon detection of loss of driver (via a simple switch in the seat that disengages when the driver is raptured away) sounds a warning klaxon as it slowly comes to a safe, controlled stop under automatic control.
So, saved Premillenialist Christians, here's my challenge to you: go all the way. Fight for what you want in our schools, our hospitals, our public places, but stick to your beliefs on our highways as well. I mean, that's what being a fundamentalist is all about, right?
*** Note: I changed "Fundamentalist" to "Premillenialist" basd on the writings of Nathaniel, the commenter. Thanks for the terminology tip!
The New Puritans
Move over metrosexuals, a new movement is afoot:
They're the New Puritans. A generation of young, educated and opinionated people determined to sidestep the consumerist perils of modern life. So if you own a 4x4, spend all your time shopping, or are simply overweight - watch your back.
This, from the Guardian, which defines this "moral minority" as a characteristically British movement - in part, a response to American consumer excess. But after Charles's and my recent bout with the puritans in our midst, I'm not so sure.
The New Puritans sounds a lot like the Voluntary Simpletons to me, with minor differences: their prohibitionist stance against drug and drink, for instance. And the lack of capital required. (Perhaps the ultimate irony of the "live simply" movement in the States is that only the wealthy can afford it.)
But the impulse to attack one's fellows based on what they consume -- and to self-righteously applaud one's own choices -- is as deeply ingrained here as anywhere.
Much as I love the Reverend Billy and genuinely appreciate his style of street theater, screaming at shoppers for consuming strikes me as bit like trying to cure alcoholics by shouting STOP DRINKING. It may make for good theater but otherwise it's more annoying than helpful. (Kinda like those PETA actions that make you want to eat kittens.)
There are no shortage of ills associated with our consumer culture and there is a great deal that personal responsibility can accomplish. Yes. But considering that, for example, two-thirds of American adults and 15% of children are obese, I think it's pretty clear that the underlying problems here are social issues... and that institutional changes will go a lot farther than name-calling.
(via Consuming Things)
The cheapest whores on campus
Back in the good old days, the only companies employing college reps were the major record labels. Apparently, nowadays, everyone's in the game. From the Boston Globe:
In an age when the college demographic is no longer easily reached via television, radio, or newspapers... a microindustry of campus marketing has emerged. Niche firms have sprung to act as recruiters of students, who then market products on campus for companies such as Microsoft, JetBlue Airways, The Cartoon Network, and Victoria's Secret...
The students selected tend to be campus leaders with large social networks that can be tapped for marketing... They are expected to devote about 10 to 15 hours a week talking up the products to friends, securing corporate sponsorship of campus events, and lobbying student newspaper reporters to mention products in articles. They also must plaster bulletin boards with posters and chalk sidewalks -- tactics known as ''guerilla marketing," which, marketing firms acknowledge, intentionally skirt the boundaries of campus rules. (emphasis added)
The companies not only get the kids to do their dirty work for them, they get them to do it for free!
Watch out for Lord Moldevort
From Gamespot: "Barry Hatter is an action adventure game featuring young wizards, broomstick racing, and a completely original concept." [Italics mine]
We'll just have to trust that it's in there somewhere.
The Rent: It's Too Damn High
I've definitely been leaning toward Ferrer in the NYC mayoral elections -- not so much out of enthusiasm for him, but rather a general unease with the corporate-friendly Bloomberg administration. Then along comes Jimmy McMillan of the "The RENT Is Too Damn High Party".
Now this is something I can totally get behind -- for as we all know, the rent is indeed too damn high. And while McMillan's proposed remedy seems a bit radical, it would save me about $600/month, or $57,000 in all:
... tenants will only pay no more than $550.00 per,mo in RENT for the next 8 years. This will give the people a chance the get their lives back together.
This is starting to sound quite good, as I could really use that money to get my life back together. And Jimmy McMillan even has a really snappy song about the rent being too damn high. Sorry Ferrer, I think to myself, but this is too good to pass up.
Then comes the rub: Jimmy McMillan blames the Jews for making the rent too damn high. He details how Christian, Islamic and even Animist and "Chinese Folk" can live together, but apparently not the Jews.
Damn. Time to put that Ferrer button back on...