I’m watching X Factor again. The results this time. I won’t talk about it though. You can form your own opinions of the various haircuts on offer if you really care enough. Don’t let me do it for you.
However, I do ask that you recognise, understand and choose to follow my thoughts on the following.
You are now reading ‘the following’. Take notes.
Adverts. They have their uses – letting people know when what indie sensation’s album Edith Bowman would consider ‘stunning’; repeatedly encouraging the idea that attractive women are just great; and allowing quality artistic efforts to be distributed for some level of ‘no-cost’ to the end user.
But they are consistently something of a deadening evil, promoting consumption and mediocrity at both insane and inane levels – something I won’t go into as several hundred books and documentaries and articles have been made/written/recorded on the matter and my thoughts would be for nought.
Several recent examples have brought out some terrible, extra repugnance I did not know I had however, and I feel an urge to share a grievance.
I don’t mean Amanda Holden’s further explorations of all that is turgid, plastic, artless and vile – her career has been nothing but.
For it is John Goodman – star of the properly wonderful sitcom analysis of the dysfunctional US working-class, Roseanne, and other similarly excellent productions as Big Lebowski, Barton Fink and Monsters, Inc. (it’s great!) – who has shown an ugly side in recent project choices.
I of course mean Sky’s promotion for its HD Box (a magic box that makes everything look a little bit nicer I think, like a viewfinder) which can be viewed in all its monstrous (LOL!) glory below:
If you don’t want to watch it (I wouldn’t blame you) a suitable summary would be ‘John Goodman taking two fantastic previous works – the family sitcom father, and the hirsuit amiable monster – and combining both into a derivative tale of an alien family who find themselves on earth with the perception that SKY products are an essential part of a happy human life.
Not only content with needling all the value out of honed, beloved characters – attaching all merit and character traits associated with such roles to an alien being who has the power to travel through space, yet is impressed by a slightly clearer picture on a screen – he is doing so for SKY!
A company, 38 per cent of which is owned by News International, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation. As in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation! The company at the forefront of commercial bias, and free market search for profits ABOVE ALL ELSE.
And millionaire Goodman is taking money to promote such a company, whilst simultaneously turning characters he did not even create into alien incompetents.
I was also surprised to hear well-known post-punk political protagonists Gang of Four’s Natural’s Not In It in an advert for something associated with video games – I forget what.
This is a song which opens with the lines “The problem of leisure/ What to do for pleasure/ Ideal love a new purchase/ A market of the senses” before extolling a set of verses and choruses that many would describe as anti-consumerist.
Yet it’s promoting an entirely unnecessary product.
I don’t really know how song rights are managed with regards to use in advertisements, so can’t comment too much further on a band allowing its work to be used in such a fashion.
This blog post has an interesting take on how the band may have come to such a conclusion to allow their work to be used in such a way – attracting new fans who like what they hear who then go on to listen to the song in full and appreciate the message and throw all Sony/Microsoft related products out their windows.
At least I think that’s what is meant to happen.
In any case, it’s nice to hear one of the greatest bands ever get a bit more exposure. And I’ll just assume if I ever spoke to whose decision it was, they’d still have integrity after some light questioning.
I’ll leave you with one more advert – and one that is just amusing in its influence.
It is for discount clothes shack, Matalan (the Cheryl Cole to Cher Lloyd’s Primark) and involves two young children, of unspecified but clearly awkward relationship, in a snow-covered yard, all the time clearly defining themselves as separate from a local population that one can only assume neither appreciates or trusts them.
Basically, it’s Let The Right One In but with a less extortionate costume budget. And less death. The same amount of people who should die though. Enjoy!