Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marking Steyn

Surprisingly, perhaps, my first ever exposure to Mark Steyn's writing and ideologies came from an article published in MacLean's magazine. Having received my first issue since and because the Canadian edition of Time was cancelled, I had to read this article about three times before it sunk in that MacLean's actually published this stuff. I thought maybe a few pages of the National Review slipped into my magazine.

I am all for reading arguments on all sides of the issues, but it was a disappointing introduction to a writer who may have a few worthwhile ideas. I can't help but laugh at the idea that TARP money is being forced on bankers. Maybe one bank somewhere, dug up and exemplified in the piece, but AIG and the rest were only too eager to lap the bail out all up from both administrations -- and then snarl like junkyard dogs at the idea that homeowners might get a piece.

The writing may indeed be on the wall. I suspect the writing has been on the wall since the 70s. Is Steyn really in the camp that blames the "hopeychanger-in-chief" for the many crises we face? If he is, he is just as hopeless as the law students who launched a ridiculous human rights action against MacLean's for publishing an excerpt from his book.

In any case, I will continue to read Steyn's contributions to MacLeans -- even if he has cast his lot with Rush Limbaugh. Can't blame a man for wanting to sell books.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blue Jays - Separated At Birth?

Well, obviously not at birth, but did Scott Richmond's mother ever have occasion to meet Jim Nabors?

In any case, may Pvt. Pyle continue to pitch like he did last night against the Twins.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Annoying Advertising Trends

Time to shoot some fish in a barrel.

There are two trends in advertising I noted lately that seem to be getting overused - even by advertising standards. The worst is these ads are annoying despite having the appearance of high dollar campaigns. Both are the illegitimate spawn of more entertaining executions and both suffer from the stench of lacking verisimilitude.

Of course, there is no horse in the advertising stable that hasn't been beaten to death long ago, but without further ado, I feel the creative departments of advertising firms need to let these two styles rest for a while.

The first is the fake guerrilla ad. This type of ad, often shot shakily, to give you the impression, "Hey, in all the excitement, we're just barely getting this footage!" I assume this particular beast is the spawn of the YouTube zeitgeist. A perfect example is the new Axe shampoo campaign:

If you're not real perceptive, you get the impression the Lever company unleashed a pig and a few shapely harridans on a mall to prove, in no uncertain terms, girls prefer clean hair. Well, thanks for that. Guess what? Guys prefer clean to dirty and smelly, too. I'm actually surprised the percentage isn't higher. The girls who like greasy, dandruff-ridden hair must be the daughters of that one dentist who refuses to recommend sugarless gum.

The other type of commercial is for more ubiquitous and, therefore, more annoying. The example I am including is from IBM, but you can see dozens of similar ads during any night of prime time television. It's the fast cut of multiple stereotypes speaking portions of the company slogan. I assume this is popular because the edits keep the viewer's interest while also allowing the company to cast as big a net as possible: both the little brown boy and one of NYC's finest want a better world - brought to you by IBM. Me, I'm on the floor in the throes of a grand mal seizure.

All I need to really want to open a vein is a little Brit boy whispering "Zoom Zoom" -- but kids whispering seems to have fallen out of favour lately. Unfortunately, the above templates are here for a while. Thank technology I DVR most everything and zip right through this crap -- although I also stop for Vince from Sham-Wow. No pretense; the man just wants to save us some money on paper towel. See, now that's compelling.