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Human Decency

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Baba has it all figured out. Her cremated remains will join Jiji’s and their mingling ashes will be divided between two desktop sphinxes formerly filled with cheap whiskey and presented to my grandfather for being a damn fine Mason. There’s already fake gold nameplates glued to the bases, no muss no fuss. My mom would get one, Lindy will get one, and Sugie… Well, Sugie didn’t make it to the family Christmas gathering this year so she’s shit out of luck.

Not everyone has their final resting place sorted out, but this is America and we’re a nation of innovative entrepreneurs. Convenient Pre-Purchase is a company that specializes in mail-order burial real estate, except when they’re specializing in ‘Pre-Pruchase’ as stated in the introductory paragraph of the letter. Which immediately follows my landlord’s misspelled name.

What locations! Convenient Pre-Purchase is partnered with over 250 franchise boneyards across half of the country. Gleaming mausoleum or eternal rest beneath a row of maples? Ordering your space today avoids the cost of inflation tomorrow and spares your idiot children from overspending to compensate for taking advantage of you their entire ungrateful lives. Everyone is pre-approved for a payment plan and you’ll never have to meet with a cemetery representative, unless you choose to. Twelve months of interest free financing will get the ball rolling. Perpetual Care Grounds Maintenance! Happy families beam at the camera, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be forced to make difficult decisions when Granny kicks the bucket.

‘If you are prepared in advance, you are not at the mercy of strangers during a difficult period in your life’ says Wendy B. from beyond the grave!

There’s checkboxes for veterans and folks who have family planted in the local grounds—no mention of a discount but no harm in asking. Unfortunately they don’t offer a 30-Day money-back guarantee (mail back the unused portion of your grave and keep the digital egg-beater as our gift to you), just their absolutely no obligation, free Cemetery Space Pre-Planning Information Kit.

We sincerely apologize if this mailing has come during a time of bereavement. Read more…

Whopper Virgins

December 1, 2008 6 comments

Whopper Virgin 1

Advertising executives must be creaming their jeans. It used to be that when commercials came on TV you would go get a snack in the kitchen or check out another channel– despite the major networks’ attempts to synchronize their schedules basic cable would run their ads at different times. With the advent of Tivo many people might have thought the jig was up, but advertising on the internet has become more sophisticated and cunning. Ah, glory days of the past before banner ads, pop-ups and bitverps when you could stroll free down the information superhighway and look at porn without being assailed by billboards.

As potential consumers adapt to ignoring new varieties of advertising the methods of selling ideas have had to change. Obviously the best manner of doing so is by presenting ads as something other than what they are. When I was growing up I would periodically stay with my grandparents who refused to let cartoons run rampant on the screen. Why? Because they’re half hour commercials for toys, and you should go play outside anyways.

Somewhere in between the blatant and sublime new techniques for advertisements to appeal to increasingly factionalized demographic groups have been developed. American Apparel didn’t grow into the incredibly popular brand that it has because of socially popular business practices but because they figured out that reintroducing re-tread fashion concepts and washed out pornography techniques would appeal to their upwardly mobile but irony-for-fun audience. Target re-branded itself with yesterday’s hot indie-rock acts and a distance from its roots as a K-Mart styled big-box chain. Now Burger King is attempting to captivate audiences with a documentary approach to selling burgers with their Whopper Virgins movie. Read more…

Yes We Can (Do What?)

November 6, 2008 2 comments

Democracy 2008

The radio was running all day in the back of the shop so I was finally forced to keep up with America as the ballots were counted. McCain conceded early in the evening for those of us on the west coast, and an excited murmur crept from coworker to coworker, bursting into evident glee when Obama followed shortly after with his victory speech. I listened in rapt annoyance as his oration took the form of a Southern preacher, punctuating his points with “Yes We Can”, and I listened with something approaching anger as he threw the gays a bone before calling it a night. For the first time in my life I voted for a presidential candidate because as I stood in my plastic privacy booth I was gripped with fear; it turns out that my decision to mark Obama was hardly necessary and I will be forever irritated by that.

Don’t misunderstand me– I’m glad that he won as he was obviously better suited than McCain across the board but his left-of-center Democratic ideals don’t really reflect my own political inclinations. I felt alone amidst a sea of overwhelming glee as I finished my shift, then began to drown in the self-righteous celebrants crowding my walk home. As per usual I bought the only 16oz beer they sell at the nearest liquor store, Budweiser, and laughed to myself how it’s no longer American owned. Younger people were clustered on corners screaming Obama through their drunken stupor as cars, shiny and new, drove past honking. Everyone was certainly ecstatic, even the throngs of street kids, and the cheering back and forth across the street, the honking, the screams of “we did it”, made me feel like the Super Bowl had just ended. In a sense it did, the left-of-center middle-class or aspiring middle-class won the Super Bowl and their team will take over the White House and Congress in a couple months time. What they think that means I don’t know, what they think “we” did I can’t comprehend. Maybe they hung a poster in their window and maybe they sent $20 to the campaign and now they have the right to feel smug about doing something. Read more…