Sunday, July 13, 2008

A few disgusts from the weekend

1. Advertising: Changing channels yesterday, I came across a Just For Men ad I had not seen before. You're probably familiar with this company's run of ads, all of which explicitly show guys with graying hair alone in their also-gray houses who then use Just For Men, and are subsequently out in swank bars with too-young blond women on their arms. Now they've gone from shameless to gratuitous. In the newest add, these two little girls, who will be revealed to be the subject male's daughters, are looking around the corner at him, one saying to the other something like "go tell him, go tell him." As they come across the room, Dad looks up from what he's doing, and the girls give him the box of Just For Men, saying it's time he gets back on the market because they want a new mommy. Cut to the ad pitch and promises, and then the final shot, where Dad is out on the town with a slightly more age-appropriate woman than the commercials normally feature. He takes a picture with his phone of himself and his date, and sends it back to the girls at home, who, apparently not being baby-sat, are all atwitter about it.

Yuck. You can watch this bullshit here:

2. Gen-X paternalism/naivety: Went to a co-worker's party last night, which was a good time. Her father works for Rockefeller University on the Upper East side, and so has university housing on the 35th floor of a tower right above the 59th St Bridge, with breathtaking views of Queens and Eastern Manhattan. They were traveling, so we had a party there. Great New Orleans style food that she spend the whole day preparing -- fantastic, actually -- and plenty of good spirits.

I left pissed off however. There was a gentleman there who was one of these "I know and care more than you do about the world's crises" artist types who had been going on and on about Mugabe and Zimbabwe. Because I was more that way at 15 than I am now, I associate political earnestness with immaturity. I accept this as a personal fault -- people probably should be more concerned about Zimbabwe and Darfur and Myanmar and every other political catastrophe than I am. That wasn't what pissed me off, however. As the party diminished to the last few people around a table, he and others of course drifted to the election, and in response to talk about Republican rule, I said "That shit is over." What I meant was that the current power Bush/Cheney/Rove power structure was on its way out, not that there was no chance McCain would be elected and be just as bad in a different way. Anyway, before I could say that, Mr. Self-Righteous jumped all over me because he thought I was some political polyanna who thought Obama was a lock to win and that this would change the world overnight. He and the other cliche at the party -- the guy who brings pot -- jumped on me explicitly because I was young, and they were so much smarter because they'd been alive for one or two more presidential elections that I had. Not feeling I needed to justify myself to these people, I chugged the rest of my wine, said polite goodbyes to the hosts and went home.

I am willing to acknowledge that I don't know everything -- like every other human past and present, the things I don't know could fill a million warehouses. And I acknowledge that I can learn a lot from older people, especially at work. But anyone with so little class, and so much need to pump up their own sad ego, that they explicitly say they're better than me because they're older is instantly dead to me -- I no longer have any interest in that person or what they have to say.

3. Hippie/Hipster Naivety: There's a trend piece in today's Times -- imagine that -- about lefties from Portland who are mad that Obama is moving to the center on some things. For the last time -- to be elected President, you have to find a way to appeal to the majority of the country, and one surefire way to not do that is to appeal to all the needs of whiny Portland lefties.

Ok, now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my Sunday.


Chris said...

Kudos to the Times for reminding us that Obama can't win the general election without that crucial Portland hipster vote.

One of life's immutable laws: Caring About Something does not make you a better person. Doing something about it does, and I won't begrudge you if you want to brag (though that kind of diminishes the better-than-you points you might otherwise have). But the fact that you're read enough Reuters articles on Mugabe to know more about him than I do does not entitle you to treat me like an Ignorant American.

John said...

Andrew, is my political earnestness a sign of immaturity? I sure hope not. I think that the Obama thing is not so much a "Oh, he's moving to the center!" than it is the large groups of progressives and liberals who feel swindled by somebody who has shifted his beliefs into erratic behavior, i.e., FISA, the child rapist death thing. Maybe they, and others, had him all painted wrong. He became a chameleon of change, etc. But it's starting to look less like change. And why? Because the world of politics is immutably fucked.

I agree with Chris that the line needs to be drawn between caring and doing, and it's so strange to actually see the line in the sand on these.

Also, I think you need to get some gray hair dye.


Your Socialist Hippie Lobbyist Friend John

A.G. said...

Hey big fella, you know you're exempt from any and all political gripes that I have. I need you in my life to keep from becoming too hard and cold.

A.G. said...

p.s., you're not as earnest as these people.

John said...

Glad we've drawn a distinction here. Now let's all say it together here. OBAMA IS NOT CHANGE.

I'm voting for LaRouche anyways.