Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some Contents May Have Shifted During Flight and May Contain Sharks

In the eighth season of the acclaimed comedy series Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Elaine Benes tries to convince a date to see a frothy, light-weight comedy called Sack Lunch instead of the oppressively pretentious The English Patient. "So do you think they got shrunk down, or is it just a giant sack?" she asks. The date marches off to see the more acclaimed film, and Elaine enjoys a good low-brow movie wallow by herself. 

There's something wonderful about fully surrendering to a low-concept film, as I was thinking last night when I saw a trailer for Let's Be Cops. Yes, I definitely would have spent a little more effort on that title. And while on the surface it seems as mouth-breathing and misogynistic as a lot of the usual summer fare aimed at the all-powerful teenaged boy demographic, it really is a fun idea -- who wouldn't want the power and excitement that comes with a police uniform and a black and white cruiser?

To pile on the irony, the film's trailer ran during the premier of the brilliantly titled Sharknado 2: The Second One -- in case you didn't get that it's a sequel, they told you twice. It's a cheesy follow-up to last year's SyFy hit, and it serves up an entire gallery of guest stars: Kelly Osborne as a violet-haired flight attendant whose head is consumed by a shark in mid-flight; Judd Hirsch, who starred on the series Taxi 35 years ago, driving a taxi through a shark storm; and Robert Hayes, who played the reluctant pilot who saves the day in the '80s comedy Airplane!, to name just a few. The premise has something to do with climate change prompting an increase in tornadoes; why they suck up multitudes of sharks and deposit them in mid-town Manhattan is never quite clear. 

In a world of 24-hour news feeds and a constant barrage of reality pinging at us from all our devices, I think we could all benefit from kicking off our shoes and relaxing with a nice, empty Sack Lunch or Sharknado. Personally, I think the family was shrunk down to sack lunch size. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Please Don't Fling Your Soiled Panties

Several years ago I described how the Charmin toilet tissue brand had veered from its decades-long track of discreet, jovial advertising to feature a marketing campaign that essentially answered, quite unnecessarily, the question of whether a bear shits in the woods. 

Now Kotex has launched a campaign that features the dissatisfied women of the world flinging their dirty undergarments into the street -- panties that have been soiled by substandard feminine hygiene products. 

It's hard to see how this creative direction ever got to see the light of day. Historically, products that dealt with bodily functions involving human waste or sexual activity focused on the high-level benefits to the customer without wallowing in the sordid facts. If the softness of a toilet paper brand was elevated as its key feature, you didn't have to elaborate where that softness would be applied. If a feminine hygiene product or baby diaper was said to be highly absorbent, there was no need to elaborate as to what substances needed to be absorbed. 

I give a solid "fail" to any effort that not only endorses littering our streets and byways with menstrual-encrusted undergarments but showcases women wearing them on their heads. Kotex, you can do better than this. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Chimp Returns

It's been almost exactly two years since I abandoned this blog. At the time, I felt I was somehow running out of subjects, or more likely I was experiencing a feeling of being overwhelmed by a world that evoked so much conflicting outrage and heartbreak.  

If anything, our tiny blue planet -- made so much more fragile by recent pronouncements that there are an almost infinite number of earthlike planets in our galaxy alone -- is seething with conflict and trauma like never before. Undeniable climate change, Ebola outbreaks, the missile strike and loss of another Malaysian jetliner, the Gaza warfare, hobby lobby dramas, and so much more, all promise an endless stream of human-driven conflict and content to react to and write about. 

And, after some interesting but, in the end, unsatisfactory forays into social media (one Twitter account as myself, and one masked within an unidentifiable persona), I realize that long-form writing is what I enjoy most. It doesn't matter how many followers I have, only that I have this free-form forum to espouse about out culture and its mystifying insistence on goose-stepping our species ever closer to oblivion. 

Please watch this space for more entries.