Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Twitter Contributing to the Demise of American Culture?

The preceding question is not meant to be rhetorical, I am of the firm belief that social networking services such as Twitter are assisting in the decline of American culture through its proverbial nerve center, language.

I recall reading an article of Time which essentially extolled the nigh limitless virtues of this service and was appalled by the basic premise behind this emerging technology. It certainly has some valid applications --namely as a political mobilization tool-- and the Iranian election protests (June 2009) illustrated such a noble purpose. My gripe is that Tweeting or "Twittering" (whatever the kids are calling it these days) lends itself to the self-indulgence of the author while simultaneously removing all substance from the message. Research has been conducted that a majority of Twitter posts are *gasp* "pointless babble." Seriously, the world does not want know your take on breakfast cereals nor what you think of your cat regardless of how adorable it might be.

Now, what gets my goat completely is how many companies --local and multinational-- have utilized this "service" to reach out to a new customer base. Really?!?! Why should I subscribe to your Twitter posts if you are trying sell me something! Last time I checked you have advertisements in all conceivable mediums (Print, online, television, radio and affixing placards to the homeless).

The most disconcerting aspect of a business' adoption of Twitter is that people not only follow their posts but also engage in an absurd "conversation" --if could call it that-- with it. Do these people realize they are talking to someone being paid hourly to update Twitter and Facebook statuses? That's right, it is someone's JOB, they aren't doing it because they enjoy Taco Bell and its ritual abuse of farm hands (or its food for that matter), they are doing it to survive. Your time would better be served listening to the time on a telephone then participating in a conversation with your favorite fast food Mexican joint.

I suppose my main gripe with Twitter is the reduction of a thought to a 140-characters sentence. Twitter's website says it is the way to "Discover what's happening right now, anywhere in the world." The question is how can one derive anything meaningful from one-hundred and forty characters? You know, when I want to learn about a complex issue such as immigration law in Arizona, I consult Twitter because it wraps it into a tiny package. Twitter might speak of what is currently "happening" but does it by also perpetuating the dwindling of the collective attention span in America.

What do I know, I lost touch with America long ago... Perhaps, I should just sit back and enjoy the ride. What? Andy Roddick has a new "tweet?" No way! He "just heard someone ask hotel manager "how big is that lake out there?".......they were pointing at the pacific ocean.......FAIL!" Classic! Not only was it thought provoking, Roddick speaks with an immediacy and importance (to an audience of a quarter million no less), while sacrificing punctuation and grammar. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to sign up and follow my local car wash on Twitter... I need its perspective on such topics as soaps, shammies, and the current state of the war on terror. What can I say, I frequent a pretty elitist car wash heavy on the political discourse.


Perhaps, Bruce Sterling --as quoted in a Times piece-- said it best, "Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite the Iliad."

Truer words were never spoken.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hungry People Don't Stay Hungry For Long

I cannot in good conscious thumb my nose at acts of hedonism, we are all guilty of it (In our own ways). If you want to down a six pack in your boxers and wife beater with the intent of passing out while watching Designing Women, more power to you. This is America and if a person cannot do what makes them happy --like vote Republican--, then you are letting the terrorists win.

Now, I realize I am largely out of touch with mainstream America or America in general but I was under the impression that obesity is epidemic in our society. Arguably, the source of this social ill is the fast food industry. We all --some more than others-- are willing participants in this game, giving into our insatiable cravings. Who hasn't gone to a fast food joint because it is quick and cheap. What has me frothing at the mouth with rage, is the contempt that these companies has for you as not only as a consumer but as a human being. Please consider the following advertisement.

I had to watch this commercial twice before I realized it was not a gag. Not only is the latest weapon in the Colonel's arsenal a disgusting example of America excess, it is blatantly racist. I can handle the undertones telling the viewer, if you do not consume a Double Down regularly "you will be less of a man" and "forget about being able to satisfy your wife sexually." Throwing caution to the wind with its foot firmly on the sprouts of America's collective masculinity, KFC also decided to perpetuate heinous stereotypes that bothers me. Seriously, this is what I took from this marketing campaign... Whites are dumb --or simple-- to a fault and Black people tend to get all riled up about fried chicken. Thank you KFC for portraying HUMANITY in a poor light. It does not stop at just Black and White males, the Colonel furthers his descent into bigotry by showcasing a "Hispanic" version on their website.

While I still have my ire up, it must be noted that KFC wants you to a mindless automaton --more euphemistically known as a "consumer"-- when it comes to their products. They have a slogan that you might notice, "UNTHINK..." Which is code for, "eat our products and enjoy" or more precisely, "trust us, we did all the thinking for you. After all, the millions we spend on market research illustrates that we know you and what keeps you happy." As I mentioned previously, I could care less about whether or not a person consumes fast food or even the "Double Down," what offends me is having a multinational corporation asserting that the cost of doing business with them is my dignity. God bless you, Kentucky Fried Chicken for relieving me of my ability to think, it has been such a burden.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Estimated Time of Death of Political Discourse in America: 8:45 A.M. - 04/15/2010

I am an enthusiast of bathroom vandalism that is either humorous or is politically astute. (Essentially, it has to serve some purpose) Sadly, more often than not, some public toilet "Shakespeare" misses the point completely and ventures into the territory of twelve year old's henceforth known as "crass town."

Now, you are wondering how can bathroom vandalism be politically astute, let me explain. It requires there be a level of intelligence in the discourse or provide some insight to the reader. This is the proverbial tight rope that one must walk as the medium --the wall of a stall-- tends to work against the message, as will the usual use of such words as dooty, fart or booger to convey an opinion.

While conducting my morning constitutional, I came across several vandals far from the Sinclair bent who fell off of the rope as their scrawls lacked the aforementioned humor and were mildly political. In short, their free time is spent watching Fox news and writing on walls than say, reading a book. So, who is up for a little critiquing the works of the uninformed political commentator? I know I obviously am!

I can not find anything wrong with this, its true that President Obama is quarterbacking nearly every play out of the Bush administration's playbook but its obvious that the author had not intended to highlight failures in policy. Nice use of a Sharpie buddy, looks like the ink is running a little dry though!

Here is a man completely out of touch with reality. How is the weather in the land of Gnomes and Unicorns? I hope the rainfall of gumdrops is only 4 inches and not 7! Otherwise, how will you and your supermodel wife drive your Ferrari to the UFC fight? Where were you for the years 2000-2008? That's right fantasy land. Not to sound like a broken record but again most of Obama's policies are continuations of the greatest president in our lifetimes... George W Bush. (Oh wait, strike that last bit, I live in the real world... He was awful.)

Americans have this distorted and misguided conception of Communism. If I see another bumper sticker or pundit assert that Obama has turned America into the land of Reds, I am going to wretch. There has been no seizure of private goods (outside of imminent domain... that is a whole different blog.) nor does the state control industry. Most importantly, when did the United States recant Capitalism as an economic practice and begin down the path to a classless society in which the state ceases to exist? I suppose the Proletarian Revolution was the second American Revolution (the secret one) and no one except people devoid of working frontal lobes knew about it. Word of advice, instead of waiting for Glenn Beck to return from its commercial break, turn off the television and pick up a book. (Hopefully, it is not one written by Glenn Beck) Your brain will thank you.

I suppose it is high time to push my idealism aside and recognize that political discourse in America is indeed dead as political debate is now taking place in the bathroom. It seems apropos considering that this is the state of American politics.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Fantastic Correlation Between the Rise of Modern Fascism and the Formula Used by Infants.

I cannot for the life of me understand the market for baby magazines. The mediocre quality of the magazines showcasing altogether vapid stories about this or that 40 some odd year old CBS journalist (see American Baby folks) with a bad face lift or such fluff pieces as "Is your baby gay?" tend to give one acid reflux. The sad fact is that I wish I was making this up, but sadly this is the climate for not only future parents but our nation as a whole.

Moreover, for the 10 pages of stories like "Nap times recharge baby's batteries," there are 30 pages of advertisements for the usual cavalcade of diapers, formulas and talcum powders. It was in these 30 pages that I unearthed a disturbing trend.

Baby Magazines are promoting the rebirth of the once vanquished foe of Fascism. (Much like Tuberculosis or Sarah Palin its making a comeback) After seeing this magazine in various nooks in my house, I decided to take a gander at it. Foremost, the magazine itself exhibits a blatant nationalistic fervor --not surprising being named American Baby and all. It begs the question, what's the difference between an American baby and others born elsewhere? That's right, access to basic medicines, medical support and a low infant mortality rate, but I digress--, while showcasing predominately blond haired white children with the occasional ginger with a goofy grin, I began to notice coincidences, namely all of the children were male with a distinct hair style (Combed over to the side).

As I continued to look through the magazine, I came across an a Gerber advertisement that put the whole thing in perspective... The Gerber ad smacked of Fascist propaganda.

Please consider the image below:

Locks of blond hair... Light eyes... Snarl of hate on his lips with his right fist raised at an unknown enemy, all the markings of the hypothetical German √úbermensch.

At this point, I could not help but recoil in horror with visions of stormtrooper boots on cobbles, Stuka dive bombers leveling villages, innocents being murdered in the streets and Il Duce being hung by his feet running through my head. I summoned all of my courage and threw the magazine across the room in disgust.

The next morning, I picked up the magazine to see if my fears were justified or merely imagined and this is what I saw:

I hereby alert the four people reading this that none of my children (soon to be born or future conceived) will neither consume nor use Gerber products. They (Gerber) can spread their message of master-race children and hate elsewhere. Its store brand goods for the Funkowitz children!

So, if you ever find Junior breaking windows and uttering racial epithets in German... It looks like you have a Nazi on your hands and it could be attributed to the formula you use.