Posted by David
on Apr 25, 2007 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
On the night of his birthday, Rob and I started watching old TV commercials on YouTube. No, I didn’t throw you a party this year, honey, but this commercial for Cap’n Crunch offers compensatory festivity. Well, he seemed to think so.
What struck me about the commercials from the early 1970s was their straightforwardness. Here they were offering products that were largely disgusting if not pure poison-the ozone-killing miasma of hairspray or the chemical bath of canned corn niblets with melted butter that clings instead of running-with a cheerful and direct voiceover. “Why, here is some canned corn! This canned corn is good for X reason. You should buy this canned corn and take it home today.” Today, every aspect of an advertisement is leveraged and focus grouped to the millisecond, but one gets the feeling that an ad agency could have knocked out twenty of these before lunch.
Candor seems to have been very culturally important back then. We can’t imagine this today, when we are dazzled, manipulated, and lied to at every turn, and we are all correspondingly cynical. But back then, the smoke-roughened voice of a narrator saying, “You should buy these cashews because your family will love them,” was all it took. That’s probably why Watergate was so shocking to those people: in 1972, a president just wasn’t supposed to behave in that way. Between 2001 and 2007, we have had the equivalent of about three hundred Watergates and no one bats an eye because that’s Republicanism as usual. People get outraged, but there is only so much outrage that a normal person wants to deal with on a daily basis, and it shouldn’t all be reserved for politics.
Here is something outrageous that happened to me the day after Rob’s birthday. I went into the bathroom at work and discovered that someone who was in there before me had left an enormous poop in the toilet. It was revolting, but I tried not to get too upset about it. This is the magical toilet from the future that flushes itself; maybe the previous visitor thought that the poop had been taken care of automatically. So I pushed the flush button, and the toilet roared to life, but the poop would not flush! It was too big, and by “too big,” I mean it was the size of a gazelle. So there I was, trapped in a bathroom with a giant poop. If I left without doing something, I would be no better than the poop’s originator, and worse, if someone was waiting in the hall, they would think it was mine! This is the sort of thing that would ordinarily make me furious with the world.
People should not behave this way, leaving their monstrous poops for other people to find! Toilets should not behave this way! But instead, I have to divide my outrage between the poop and George Bush. (But I repeat myself.)
Anyway, I’m not going to tell you what I did next, but the point is, Adorn hairspray lasts and lasts and lasts. Try it today.