OK, I am a libertarian, free-market champion. And I think that while the discussion about CEO pay discrepancies and bonuses is valid, it’s a distraction from issues that have much greater influence on the financial well being of the average person or family. That said, fuck, fuck fucking fuck this fucking motherfucker.
Asthma is the least of the woman’s problems in this commercial. Before she sees her doctor or visits asthma.com, she should leave her whiny, self-absorbed, unsupportive husband, quit her job and tell her sister or friend or whoever that is to eat balls. She’s surrounded by nasty, boorish hags and wankers. Even her little daughter is a guilt-peddling esteem leech.
Seriously, the husband could not be a bigger dick. “Your debilitating, potentially deadly asthma attack that jarred you from sleep as you clutched your chest and choked in terror to draw air into the constricted airways of your lungs WOKE ME UP AGAIN! Now what are you making for breakfast?”
And the husband and sister double team the woman when says she likes to get outside. “Unless it’s ‘too cold,’” the husband says with disdainful air quotes. “Like the last three weekends!” sister-bitch chimes in. Hey, sorry I didn’t feel like going to the Chili Cook-Off because I couldn’t reliably fill my lungs with air! And you are so right to doubt my determination that the air was cold enough to exacerbate my condition. That’s exactly the type of thing I like to lie about so this affliction that I did not choose can trap me like a prisoner in my own home! You still read me like a book after all these years!
And are we so cynical that we assume children have no empathy for their own parents? A five-year-old hates it when her mom is sick. Little kids will invent shit to make their parents feel better. “Mom, I found this pine cone with magic medicine in it. You can’t see the medicine, but if you just hold the pine cone, you’ll be able to breath again. God said so.”
Instead, this redrum-hallway shame pug makes sure mommy knows the full extent of her joyless, disappointing childhood.
Then her boss shows up to helpfully remind her that “You missed the meeting this week AGAIN!” You know, I manage people in my job. If someone came to me and said, “Hey, I’m having a really bad time today and would prefer not to sit through a meeting and self-consciously suck on my inhaler in a room full of my colleagues,” I’d certainly understand. I can’t imagine saying anything besides, “Take care of yourself, hope you feel better. It’s just a meeting, I’ll catch you up later.”
The kicker is the closer. “I don’t use my rescue inhaler a lot.” Sister-bitch: “It depends on what you mean by, ‘a lot.’” Hmm, I don’t know, how about every time I can’t breathe because of this asthma that I wish more than anything I didn’t have? Is that a lot? How often am I inconveniencing you by drawing breath?
Isn’t there a better way to extol the virtues of asthma treatments without portraying sufferers as a dreadful burden on the people around them?
OK, the guy in this ad just reminded me of him, but obviously advertisers have relied on the nebbish everydork to sell products for generations.
I’m more fascinated that even in 1970, advertisers would’ve found this message effective. To summarize: “Even if you’re a greasy putz, you can kick sand on your nerd girl and pick up hot beach bikini pussy instead. Dodge Charger.”
Although, as we’ve noted here before, marketers still like to appeal directly to the grunty inner male sex panther. The folks who make Axe products for men bring it as shamelessly and offensively as anyone, as in this ad for Axe Rape-is-Her-Fault Chest Wax.
Axe applies the same pot-clanging subtlety to its packaging. I took this picture in a Target the other day:
The sassy silhouette says it all: “Axe it up tonight and get 33% more HOT LADIES!”
Also, this particular flavor of Axe Shower Gel is called SHOCK (all caps mandatory).
Which invites the tagline: “Our SHOCK isn’t toxic, at least not in that way.”
There is another Axe variety called ANARCHY. Here too, the message is clear: “It’s lawless here in Pussytown, fellas. When you’re soaked in Axe Torso Dip, civil order disintegrates and your fat wagging meat is the only law the ladies bow down to.”
It’s easy to make fun of this mentality in men’s marketing, but Axe and similar Neadveristers probably have a point. Men are simple creatures; we are not clever. Axe could save a lot of money on broadcast advertising by just sending female field marketers into stores to thwap us over the head with a mallet and tickle our balls a little bit. We’ll buy anything you’re selling. AXE!
And some other Norm news lately has been bad or just odd: His live PGA tournament update tweets that border on performance art. HIs peculiar recent controversy about being criticized on Twitter for his study of scripture (?), which made him a fleeting and unlikely rallying point for right-leaning religious types. His swiftly canceled sports show on Comedy Central that just never found a stride. Seems like rocky times to be Norm Macdonald.
Which sucks because Norm Macdonald is funny as hell. And not just from back in the day, in his SNL Weekly Update prime. This clip from a 2009 stand up special is a great example. I especially love this clip because beneath the detached snark he’s personal and poignant while wrecking the feel good characterization of “battling” a terminal disease. And he’s fucking funny. (I tried to embed the clip but Comedy Central’s crappy clip site gives you worthless code. So you just get the link, with an annoying commercial plus inexplicable bleeping of the “swear words.”)
Here he observes why it’s entirely expected for a crocodile hunter to die. As Jon Stewart squirms, Norm just mashes the gas even harder:
Finally, there is this, Macdonald’s much-discussed trolling at the Bob Saget Comedy Central roast a few years back. Norm commits to six-plus minutes of terrible hack jokes, ridiculing the entire roast premise while bewildering many and riotously amusing the handful who caught up with what he was doing.
And our friend Tim O’Shea always finds the hidden gems, in this case Norm breaking down his Saget roast experience to WTF’s Marc Maron. It includes the sublime line, “All I could see were the angry eyes of Alan Thicke.”
I overheard a guy at the food counter in a Target ask the girl working there, “Are those hot dogs recent? Because sometimes they’re not a good after they’ve been in there too long.”
I’m sorry, sir, but you forfeited your right to be discriminating when you chose to eat that sweaty processed meat baton glowing on the roller grill at Target. You can’t eat hot dogs from Target and also be a foodie. “Yes, are those hot dogs made with pure corn-fed beef? Do they have any fillers or preservatives that might cause harm to my good health and digestion? Could you please trace the nutritional pedigree of those glistening filler and flesh wands? Please just humor me with this appeal to dignity in my hour of desperation.”
This also reminded me of Patton Oswalt’s brilliant assault on the collective retreat from dignity known as the KFC Famous Bowl, probably his most famous stand up routine:
Less well known, but possibly even funnier, is the follow up routine he did following the launch of the KFC Double Down sandwich, with bacon, cheese, gravy, the Colonel’s Secret Sauce (!) and despair all jammed between two fried chicken breasts instead of buns (sorry no video–has anyone seen a clip of this?):
Extra super bonus: This interview with Oswalt on independent station WFMU, in which a caller from Omaha first makes Oswalt aware of the Double Down sandwich. It’s cool to see how Oswalt worked this into his bit about the KFC Mega-Leg and turned it into eight fresh, hilarious minutes of new comedy instead of just retreading the Famous Bowl routine (which he acknowledges that he was trying to phase out):
Finally, switching gears to another of my favorite stand up routines about food. This time, it’s David Cross contemplating the gall of eating gold for dessert (also no video, but the picture of Cross here is funny enough to sustain the entire six minutes):
I want to like CNN. As an Atlanta native it wounds me personally to see crazy Ted Turner’s once proud news empire rudderless and foundering. Recent high-profile reporting blunders and questionable editorial calls haven’t helped matters. But I at least like some of what they’ve tried since Jeff Zucker showed up to run things. Anthony Bourdain’s hyper-promoted show is as interesting an hour as any of the news channels broadcasts (although it’s still not exactly news). His visit to Libya was flat-out fascinating.
But, you know, this:
Surely there are some actual news-minded editors at CNN who are ready to just give up. How thoroughly embarrassing that Miley Cyrus’s skank dance at the VMA’s is the breathless top news item on CNN.com. Right down to the triple-question-marked tabloid “She did what???” headline. You’re making it hard to root for you, CNN.
UPDATE: By the way, I was kidding about the “distasteful Miley Cyrus content.” I consider any Miley Cyrus content to be distasteful. We haven’t gone prude here at containseggs.
UPDATE NO. 2: Wow, The Onion rips CNN.com to shreds for this in a hilarious phony editorial. Outstanding.