November 17, 2010

Advertising's Hidden Second Message

progressive-ad.JPG

the question isn't why he is shown wearing a man purse, the question is why it takes two people to buy auto insurance

Look at the two Windows Mobile ads below.  What do you see?  Wrong.

Hit play, hidden messages will unfold:





This one has a hot girl in it...





There are others in the same format: clueless fool is missing on life because he's busy with his phone.

(Not sure I get it.  Why would a Windows phone make me use my phone less?  Oh, now I get it.)


II.  Who can we laugh at now? 


On the Ron & Fez radio show-- probably the best radio show on the air today, and if you bring up This American Life I swear to Christ I'm coming over to set your cats on fire.  "This week on This American Life, some banal idiocy, set to jazz breaks"--kill me-- on last week's Ron & Fez show someone brought up the above father/son baseball tragicomedy as an example of how white men, especially fathers, have become the accepted brunt of popular humor.

You can take that back a few years to the popular sitcoms, doofus white guy married to some hottie six grades smarter than him, not particularly manly or strong or motivated, the message apparently being that what women want are men too apathetic to cheat.

So it's the same old three chords sung to different lyrics, hey, this song is so unique because I haven't been alive long enough to have heard the same thing 8
trillion other times, let me get a T-shirt as well.  But there's another
song in the background and you have to turn up the bass to hear it.

III.  So why are the white guys the easy target? 

It's not arbitrary, "hey, we did the pollacks and the indians, who's next?"  And no, neither is it the completely imaginary hope that the media is so politically correct/racially neuralgic that they wouldn't dare EVER to make fun of blacks. e.g. when the corporate dummy drops the phone in the urinal:

windosad-urinal-drop.jpg
and then goes right back to using it, the corporate dummy has to be a white guy and the corporate black guy gets to roll his eyes at him.

windowsmobile-ad-urinal.JPG "Really?"


(yeah, but the white guy fished his hog out one handed.  ZING!)

And when this thigh-hi wearing succubus

windowsmobile-ad-sex.jpg
tries to turn him on, his penis should have instantly become a Staff of Osmium and Aggravated Assault, but he just searches for Activia deals.  Not-noticing-husband has to be cast as a late middle aged white guy.
  

sucuba.jpgcoincidence




And when the son plays outside with his Dad and his Dad is more interested in ESPN than in playing with his son, such that the kid throws the ball at his Dad's head on purpose--

windowsmobile-ad-baseball.jpg
--and even gets away with it, that Dad will be white and that sport will be baseball.  Or soccer:







"...so I can actually watch my son's game, and not be that guy."




If you agree with all that-- father, husband, provider, dummies all, because they're safe targets that can be shown to be dummies-- then I can tell you something: you're white and a dummy. 

Yes: all of that is just rationalization.  TV programming may care about political correctness but advertising does not, at all, unless it can move product.  Advertisers will airbrush a hidden vagina into an Absolut ad just on the chance it gets you to rethink sobriety/marriage, so believe me they have no problem putting black men in black face if it gets you to buy another Happy Meal.   Advertisers aren't pro-black, I'm not sure there even are any blacks in advertising and that part's not a joke, they're not civil rights advocates, they're snipers from Psy Ops.

 

absolut ad vagina.jpg
tom ford penis.jpgcan you detect the subliminal message?




Advertisers make white guys into dummies because (they hope) it helps sell their product; but they're only going to link their product to a message that already exists.  Unfortunately, by piggybacking their product on that concept, they are making the consumer believe that the concept is already accepted common knowledge.  Advertisers didn't choose to live like this  but that's how the mutually reinforcing symbiosis works.  Like I said, advertising isn't our window on society, it is society's window on individuals, and these white guy-as-dummy advertisements are telling you that the reason white guys are picked on is because we hate them, and we hate them because they have let us all down.

Whatever your racial preference, agree that the world to this point was owned and operated by Whitey & Sons, Inc, and boy oh boy, did Sons butcher it.  From the "economic crisis" to "unnecessary wars" to widening income gaps, global warming to outstandingly bad television, the world/America was promised there'd peace, prosperity and tube cars in 2010 and now it's worse than it was under Carter.  The military said they could protect us, Goldman Sachs  said stocks would go up in the long run, Congress said they got this.  Nope, nope, nopedy dope.

The heirs of the world's everything have dropped the ball and squandered their lead.  I don't know when we'll ever have a black President again, but I can/could have/did tell/told/tell you that the one time in post-soviet history where it was a foregone conclusion was 2008.  Even overt racists voted for him, how much worse could things get?  It's the same reason why downward spiraling Catholicism got itself a German Pope; why poster child for Euro bankruptcy Iceland went with a gay prime minister in 2009-- its most popular PM ever.  It's not progressivism, it's a hail mary longshot after 3.5 quarters of fumbles and incompletes.    None of these events are examples of history in the making, they're history repeating itself.  All of this has happened before and it will happen again.


IV.  That's not me.


But those men in the ads are just "regular guys," which tells you that the disappointment extends to anyone who had privilege and power: fathers, husbands, suits.  It doesn't matter if you think you earned every dime or it was handed to you, what others-- including yourselves-- see is that those who have are doing a terrible job with the present and an even worse job with the future.

What kind of a husband doesn't see that his horned up wife is trying to connect with him?  A self absorbed man.  What kind of a Dad doesn't even notice he has a skull fracture?  A self-absorbed man.  So how do you expect them to find cheap renewable energy?  That's what society is angry about.

Notice that these men aren't absent-- the guy got dressed in silk pajamas, the other guy is in a baseball uniform, "what else do you want from me?" -- but they're not engaged.  I can cite a million examples of this: hovering around your kids every second of the day; the decade plus explosion of husbands in the kitchen (I'm doing something for the family but don't really have to interact); "man caves" (at least I'm home and not at some bar) and hyper involvement in kids' schooling but not their schoolwork.  Fake news and fake sex over real news and real sex, bullying laws and bike helmets, and no kid outside alone, ever, too many texting drivers, serial killers and pedophiles (there but for the grace of God and unforgiving laws go I.)

Be careful, wildpeople, if you think you're not the hated white guys in these ads.  It isn't about being white or being a guy, but about the class of people who have inherited the earth and then withdrawn from it, leaving it to entropy.  Those people are the privileged middle aged-- the Dumbest Generation of Narcissists In The History Of The World, and society hates you.  That's why, in other Windows Mobile ads, these women are portrayed positively, as using the phone to connect:


windowsmobile-ad-women connecting.jpg
while these women are jerks because they're using the phone to disconnect:


windowsmobile-ad-not connecting.jpg
Neither do hispanics get a free pass-- not if they've assimilated into the middle class, taken  advantage of its malls, and then beat a hasty retreat:

windowsmobile-ad-family.jpg
Society is disgusted by all of you, even as you are disgusted by it.  But look up at the ads, the ones who have to suffer for it are the next generation.  The ones you suffocate with your physical presence.  "We always eat dinner together as a family."  Yeah, well, maybe you shouldn't.


windowsmobile-ad-seesaw.jpgthe balance of power in the United States for the next 25 years




V.  99% of society's problems are insoluble; the other 1% is being deliberately ignored 


The quick point is that your constant physical presence isn't doing anyone any good, and as for your kids it is slowly/rapidly melting their soul like Red Bull on gastric mucosa.  But the larger point is that everyone around you feels your apathy, it senses that you are zombies going through life, you would much rather be elsewhere.  Like on your phone.

If you would be honest with yourselves-- which you cannot be, this isn't an insult but a description of the pathology-- you would realize that you are blowing off your kid and your wife and your life not to rest or relax or take a minute to yourself but to withdraw from reality,  because in reality you are only a fraction of what you thought you were supposed to be by now, time to buy another phone and hope it connects to the Matrix.   And you withdraw at home because the boss won't let you do it at work but at home the kid has no power to stop you.  Neither does your wife, who anyway has to work.   Why does she have to work?  Oh yeah, you let her down.

That withdrawal from reality has not gone unnoticed-- not by your kids or your spouse or the voters or the networks, they know you like programming that lets You Decide, and the advertisers use that to sell a phone.  (The vodka sells itself.)

Truth hurts, me hearties, or so the saying goes but in your case not so much, the only truth that matters is what you believe in and that won't ever hurt you.   And you believe Bush and the liberals and divorced parents and gays and blacks and the Christian right and fossil fuels and Xbox are all to blame, meanwhile you yourselves create an ad where your kid hits you in the head with a baseball and you don't understand the message that the problem is you.  It is always you.  And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.  As the great Marshall McLuhan once said, "know thyself, mofos, know thy mother fucking self."


---

You may also like:

Advertising's Collateral Damage

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych












Comments

This is a bit of a long sho... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 12:06 PM | Posted by Peter: | Reply

This is a bit of a long shot, but would you be interested in contributing a chapter on psychiatry to my book?

www.postpeakmedicine.com

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"You can take that back a f... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 12:51 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

"You can take that back a few years to the popular sitcoms, doofus white guy married to some hottie six grades smarter than him, not particularly manly or strong or motivated, the message apparently being that what women want are men too apathetic to cheat."

Some white guys tend to like to believe they're not being exploited by the media and society because they like to see themselves as "on top" (even if it's an illusion/delusion) and that all white straight men automatically have/ are entitled to the privileges of patriarchal colonialism. Of course that's never been true - advertising exploits men as well as women and it's only ever the elite that really have the privileges. (But, hey, being able to beat your wife and kids with impunity may give some poor sods the illusion that they're actually powerful - though it's really a reaction to being both personally and socially powerless. Bad day at the office because your boss made you crawl like a worm, go home and abuse your family to feel powerful and in control again.)

And it looks more like that dude's carrying his wife's purse more than a "man purse". Advertisers know that wives actually make most of the decisions about things like auto insurance. This ad isn't about what women want in a man - ads for chocolates are about that - it's aimed at married women who end up care-taking immature men (and are probably busy raising the next generation of men who don't equally share in adult responsibilities or know how to do their own laundry). A hell of a lot of men are just looking for some woman - any woman - to take care of them. (And, of course, there are women who do exactly the same thing.) Both have already sacrificed, or never formed, an adult identity anyway.

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And, hey, there are doofus ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 12:55 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

And, hey, there are doofus middle class black guys whose wives keep them on a leash on tv too. Lots of them - both in cartoon and sitcom form. The stereotype - which is just as promoted by men - is that men who are married are doofuses oppressed by their wives (being oppressed by the system or other men rarely comes into the picture, it's all his wife's fault he has no balls and the fantasy is that he'd be a different man, with balls, if he wasn't married - which, of course, is untrue).

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I get such great joy when y... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I get such great joy when you confirm my views. Fake everything is the new real...or shall we call it ironic rather than fake?

Although something could be said about the constant need to strive for authenticity too eh?

I just Kant seem to get this out of my head.

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Great post!I like ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:07 PM | Posted by Cashman: | Reply

Great post!

I like the line "Society is disgusted by all of you, even as you are disgusted by it."

It's worth remembering that all the idiots you hate are people like you, and to their eyes you're just another idiot mixed in with the idiots THEY hate.

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"Although something could b... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

"Although something could be said about the constant need to strive for authenticity too eh?"

Except that "authenticity" has become a product/object to be bought - a superficial veneer to superficially delineate oneself from "those" superficial people - rather than just behaving honestly. Of course, if you're striving to be/achieve "authenticity" then you've failed already because you're trying to be/do/look like something you're not. Being as you are is authentic, striving for authenticity is trying to attain/project an image of something you're not.

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Cashman - "It's worth remem... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Cashman's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Cashman - "It's worth remembering that all the idiots you hate are people like you, and to their eyes you're just another idiot mixed in with the idiots THEY hate."

Well said. As long as we keep seeing each other as the enemy - men vs women, black vs white, christians or muslims vs everyone else, poor vs middle class poor, middle class black vs "ghetto", straight vs gay, police/border security vs citizens, etc - we're kept safely fighting amongst ourselves and divided and entirely powerless. We become our own oppressors. It's very cost efficient and it's a pretty old governing tactic. They don't need most of us anymore but if they kill all of us who will clean their toilets and wipe their asses? Of course, Japanese toilets and robot maids may just make us all completely obsolete and unnecessary. (Now that we all know that the industrial/technological revolutions weren't about more freedom for us all but about freeing the rich from needing us, sometimes revolting, slaves.)

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"Whatever your racial prefe... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:43 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

"Whatever your racial preference, agree that the world to this point was owned and operated by Whitey & Sons, Inc, and boy oh boy, did Sons butcher it."

And this is a racial issue how? Are white people genetically predisposed to fucking things up? Then how did they create modern civilization? If black people are such goddamn geniuses, why hasn't Obama fixed everything yet?

You're just yet another person suffering from white liberal guilt. Keep that shit to yourself, it's all been heard before a billion times before.

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Peter - Interesting project... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Peter's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Peter - Interesting project and pretty cool to see. It reminds me of how doctors in the 70s self organized to prepare for the potential of nuclear war.

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This American Life is a pla... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:48 PM | Posted by Matthew Walker: | Reply

This American Life is a plague on the middle-class American mind. I was eating out this summer, and there was a couple at the table behind me on a first date. The guy spent a solid hour doing an uncanny imitation of the This American Life Voice. You know the voice I mean. He must have spent countless hours practicing; he had it down perfectly. It was funny, but also pathetic.

From what I could follow, his date was a couple standard deviations out of his league intellectually, but maybe her options were limited for other reasons. Or maybe she was a big TML fan and couldn't believe her luck; it takes all kinds. I wish 'em both the best. Just not within earshot.

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"Are white people genetical... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 2:17 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Quin: | Reply

"Are white people genetically predisposed to fucking things up? Then how did they create modern civilization?"

Alone's post had nothing to do with whites being pre-disposed to messing everything up because of genetics. And even if Obama was a super-genius doing an excellent job it'd take more then half a term to fix our mess.

-Quin

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What's so wrong with This A... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 2:43 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

What's so wrong with This American Life? It's entertaining for some, not enjoyable for others, but it doesn't exactly do any damage.

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I'm not sure the message of... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 2:54 PM | Posted by voyou: | Reply

I'm not sure the message of these ads is "white guys suck and we hate you" so much as it is "white guys, feel free to suck as much as you want, we still love you."

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Not everybody enjoys a good... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 2:58 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Matthew Walker: | Reply

Not everybody enjoys a good orgy of smugly complacent self-congratulation. What's wrong with it is what's wrong with "Dancing with the Stars": It is tedious crap.

I regret that so many people enjoy tedious crap, but there's nothing I can do about it -- nor would I if I could. It's a free country and I like it just fine that way.

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Cashman love this! "It's wo... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 3:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Cashman's comment, by Libertarians vs. Unicorns: | Reply

Cashman love this! "It's worth remembering that all the idiots you hate are people like you, and to their eyes you're just another idiot mixed in with the idiots THEY hate."

I want to make it my e-mail signature.

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Dammit, AloneWill ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Dammit, Alone

Will you publish that book!?!

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I've been following your po... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 3:52 PM | Posted by Unimportant: | Reply

I've been following your posts for a while now, and finally, after this one, I had to say thank you. I hope to take this stuff to heart.

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"If you would be honest wit... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"If you would be honest with yourselves-- which you cannot be, this isn't an insult but a description of the pathology-- you would realize that you are blowing off your kid and your wife and your life not to rest or relax or take a minute to yourself but to withdraw from reality, because in reality you are only a fraction of what you thought you were supposed to be by now, time to buy another phone and hope it connects to the Matrix."

I know that feeling, but can it really be said about everyone?

Is dreaming of being a CEO or an astronaut or a professional athlete growing up really as new as the baby boomer generation?

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It's not the childhood drea... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 4:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

It's not the childhood dream or aspiring to something that's the issue, it's the expectation that one should be living a childhood fantasy (and be an astronaut without working for it) and then avoiding reality because it means being realistic about oneself. The reality of being an astronaut is, of course, pretty different than the fantasy and it's not really what the person wants anyway. People who really want to be astronauts pursue the dream, people who really just want to be anyone but who they are pursue fantasies. These people never even try, they just imagine how great they'd be and how great everyone would think they are. I suspect their family - who sees them as a human and not a very engaged one at that - is a constant affront to their fantasy about who they "really" are in their own mind (or in the online fantasy world they've created). I have nothing against fantasy and escapism, it's an important part of being human and can be very creative and constructive when applied well in the real world. Of course, if you reject reality that's impossible to do and you're simply using fantasy as a defense.

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"I'm never where I want to ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 4:33 PM | Posted by Gary: | Reply

"I'm never where I want to be."

-Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill

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And yet he insists this is ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 4:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Quin's comment, by someone: | Reply

And yet he insists this is a race issue and implies that black people would do a much better job. But Obama has not solved anything, and Africa's track record of statecraft is laughable.

I like how all the butthurt liberals voted down my comment but didn't have the balls to actually say anything to me.

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I've been reading these art... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 4:52 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I've been reading these articles for a few months. While I don't always agree with the opinions or analysis in them, I continue to read them because they generally present new, original ideas that I wouldn't have though of, and I think that is beneficial. But I'm becoming concerned that all this is is a list of problems; just a giant gripe list, without any real attempt to go about outlining a plan or solution. Sure, admitting there is a problem and defining what it is exactly is the first step to overcoming challenges, but it's only the first of many. I mean, I'm not expecting solutions to all life's problems, but a I feel that more analysis in that area is appropriate. It seems like a general trend on many of these posts is that the problem is people are narcissists or too self-centered or stupid or lazy. Ok, fine, but what then? Once I (or we or they) recognize that I'm lazy and stupid and self-centered, what then? I respect the analysis in these posts, but I feel it's not really that productive to just say "stop doing that."

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I've been reading these art... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 4:56 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I've been reading these articles for a few months. While I don't always agree with the opinions or analysis in them, I continue to read them because they generally present new, original ideas that I wouldn't have though of, and I think that is beneficial. But I'm becoming concerned that all this is is a list of problems; just a giant gripe list, without any real attempt to go about outlining a plan or solution. Sure, admitting there is a problem and defining what it is exactly is the first step to overcoming challenges, but it's only the first of many. I mean, I'm not expecting solutions to all life's problems, but a I feel that more analysis in that area is appropriate. It seems like a general trend on many of these posts is that the problem is people are narcissists or too self-centered or stupid or lazy. Ok, fine, but what then? Once I (or we or they) recognize that I'm lazy and stupid and self-centered, what then? I respect the analysis in these posts, but I feel it's not really that productive to just say "stop doing that."

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This is one of the best so ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:14 PM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

This is one of the best so far. Thank you.

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looks like i need a divorce... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

looks like i need a divorce

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You *TOTALLY* missed the po... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:19 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Cashman: | Reply

You *TOTALLY* missed the point of what TLP was saying. He's talking about a problem with society, and saying society is represented by a clueless white guy. He is not blaming white guys for anything, except as individual humans who are as responsible for their own problems as any other guy or girl, whatever their levels of melanin expression.

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Did you read the article? ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:21 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Did you read the article? He specifically talked about this.

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Glorious. The crux of your... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:25 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

Glorious. The crux of your book deal, when you get it.

Thanks for ripping on "All Things Considered" by the way. If you've ever seen the NewsRadio episode "Flowers for Matthew", there is a line that I love (quoted as best I can from memory):

(Matthew has suddenly become intelligent)
Lisa: Wow, Matthew, you understand NPR now?
Matthew: I understand that it's boring CRAP, masquerading as bourgeois intellectual discourse.


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Of course he talked abou... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

Of course he talked about it. If he hadn't, I would have not been able to say anything since there wouldn't have been anything to talk about. This conversation would not exist.

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You got "people in power fu... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:57 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You got "people in power fucked up because they're white" and "those who are not white are thus superior" from "the people in power, who are white, fucked up".

It's a logical leap that takes you away from the point Alone was trying to make: a) there is resentment towards the (white) people in power because of their withdrawal away from society, into themselves and b) the resentful feel safe expressing that resentment.

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Like beauty, "tedious crap"... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 6:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Matthew Walker's comment, by RC: | Reply

Like beauty, "tedious crap" is in the eye of the beholder. But you haven't made a case that it's damaging.

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I agree. Alone, what can w... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 6:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

I agree. Alone, what can we do? Is there anything we can do?

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"White liberal guilt" is pr... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 6:32 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by RC: | Reply

"White liberal guilt" is preferable to white conservative (narcissistic?) rage. Granted, neither accomplishes much, but at least the former doesn't make you a douchebag.

In fact, I think Obama's next slogan should be "the party of non-douchebaggery."

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Fake news and fake sex o... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 6:39 PM | Posted by Reader: | Reply

Fake news and fake sex over real news and real sex, bullying laws and bike helmets, and no kid outside alone, ever, too many texting drivers, serial killers and pedophiles (there but for the grace of God and unforgiving laws go I.)
Reality is not good enough. I require medical dramas that portray impossible situations and bloggers creating faux news by kicking TSA employees in the balls.

Who gives two shits if my next door neighbor is starving? Fuck that whore. Some poor kid in Rwanda (or was it Mozambique?) has a distended belly and for just $12.95 per month...The government is there to help my neighbor. And, besides, helping some kid in Africa sounds way better during coffee breaks.

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If there is one group of pe... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 6:54 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If there is one group of people in the US playing the character of superhero in their own movie it's liberal activists.

Leftist Free-thinkers: Obeying the Script.

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That seems like a caricatur... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 7:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Raoul: | Reply

That seems like a caricature of what being a liberal is all about. Liberalism has accomplished so much, you just don't notice it because it's not politically feasible to attack, say, universal suffrage or public schools or any number of other services the state provides.

What you do have is an aversion to a small fraction of traditionally leftist, from which many a talking point, straw man, and generally big deal is made.

So what's the script? Why is yours better? (I'm assuming that you're conservative, since all politics is binary now).

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"If you would be honest wit... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 8:25 PM | Posted by DCF: | Reply

"If you would be honest with yourselves-- which you cannot be, this isn't an insult but a description of the pathology"

So that's it? No hope?

I guess I should stop making myself feel bad by reading these posts and just enjoy my narcissism in peace.

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If you had bothered reading... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 8:27 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Kyle: | Reply

If you had bothered reading the paragraph immediately preceding what you quoted, you'd have noticed that TLP is presenting a point of view attributed to the mentality that this advertising cycle reinforces. Think about how this kind of misunderstanding relates to the subject matter he usually writes about and hopefully something will click...

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In answer to the question r... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 8:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Michael: | Reply

In answer to the question regarding what to do: Read the archives and find the entry entitled "Can Narcissism Be Cured?". Good luck.

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This post reminds me why I ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 9:29 PM | Posted by Lise: | Reply

This post reminds me why I have always hated the music of Jimmy Buffet: the whiny, privileged ranting of a rich white man whose only real problems are alcohol and, well, generally sucking.

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Working in advertising and ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 9:47 PM | Posted by b: | Reply

Working in advertising and planning (primarily those responsible for sociology and anthropology within agencies), I think there's far to much credit being placed on the collective intelligence of agencies.

Typically images are meant to display affinity or aspiration (e.g., middle age, upper middle class guy with hot wife) rather than some deeply inverted quadruple sub-text.

Knowing the group who produced these commercials, and MS client, I can say with some certainty they focus group tested the target audience, concluded they had a degree of affinity with certain lifestyle choices (e.g., outdoor time, upscale metro living, etc) and we're of upward income ($1000 silk pajamas, trophy wife).

Knowing this they simply created an ad that showed like (real or aspirational) people being overwhelmingly distracted from things that are otherwise the epitome of desirability (e.g., MILFS, free-time).

I understand your broader point but think you're overstating the role of these commercials and ascribing far too much malevolence in their construction.

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Nice analysis but I think t... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 9:59 PM | Posted by NameHimGeorge: | Reply

Nice analysis but I think the disconnection is everywhere among those rich enough to Have the Stuff. And guys are more solitary anyway. But mostly I just flat-out disagree that it's not PC that makes the victims in advertising White males. White males are the most powerful, the only non-victim group. It's more acceptable for an employee to make fun of his boss than the other way around. Everyone would feel it if a black was mocked in an ad. I wonder that they're not offended for /that/, it being a sign of power and strength, that you can take it. A bit off-topic but I've noticed that simple, warmth-only commercials feature /blacks/; anything quirky or interesting involves a white. At least that's how it used to be, I haven't watched in a while.

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I bet that, "Why would a Wi... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 11:20 PM | Posted by TheOffTopicGooFromSpace: | Reply

I bet that, "Why would a Windows phone make me want to use my phone less? Oh wait, now I get it." could become a top comment, and probably start a flame war in the ad you linked. We'll see. Bashing Windows is always popular yet controversial.

You've touched on an aspect of that with your article on that Three Red Stripes album and auto-tune; what the new album did was really create two separate groups of people, "Auto-tune is an acceptable innovation," and "I righteously hate auto-tune," so I feel like the flame wars that go on in ads posted on YouTube have a special place in that.

If advertising is society's window on you, then what are YouTube threads?

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What Would Tyler Durden Do ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 11:39 PM | Posted by Mr. Louisiana: | Reply

What Would Tyler Durden Do has identified the wife in the Windows ad as 2006 Ms. Louisiana:

http://www.wwtdd.com/2010/11/who-is-the-windows-phone-girl-in-lingerie-who-says-really/

and is in an even hotter ad for Dodge.

You may now return to missing Alone's point.

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Another article (of a sort)... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 11:41 PM | Posted by TheRelatedLinkGooFromSpace: | Reply

Another article (of a sort) about media that tries to draw people in by depicting a loser at the center: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisLoserIsYou

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Are you fucking serious? If... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 3:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Are you fucking serious? If you "recognize that [you
re] lazy and stupid and self-centered" and you're asking what to do, then you're just *being lazy and stupid and self-centered*. Personal solutions to the problems Alone highlights are glaringly obvious and if you have to ask you definitely don't get it.

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Hope resides not in fantasy... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 5:01 AM | Posted, in reply to DCF's comment, by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

Hope resides not in fantasy, but in a tangible outcome occurring. Fantasies are fantastic, i.e. not going to happen in this world ever.

Escaping into fantasy is the denial of hope, not its affirmation. Most of the things these people hope for are the results of conscious, willed action (becoming richer, smarter, eating healthier, being funnier, a better dad, better lover, banging supermodels, playing in the NFL, etc ad nauseam.) The fantasy is acquiescence to defeat.

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If race is irrelevant, then... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 7:26 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

If race is irrelevant, then why mention it at all?

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Lots of disjointed points. ... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 8:23 AM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

Lots of disjointed points. I feel like I make the jump with you most of the time, but not always. I feel like this was mental vomit. The kind born of anger. The points are all derived logically, but there are so many being made that 1 post won't do it.

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This message is getting tir... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 8:31 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This message is getting tiresome. Narcissism is everywhere if that's only what you're looking for.

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Because the dumb asses in t... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Because the dumb asses in the commercials alone's post is about are exclusively white, and the smart people are exclusively not white.

Seriously man, this isn't hidden in the subtext of the post, it's right there in the open. Just read a little bit more carefully.

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"Like I said, advertising i... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 10:08 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Like I said, advertising isn't our window on society, it is society's window on individuals, and these white guy-as-dummy advertisements are telling you that the reason white guys are picked on is because we hate them, and we hate them because they have let us all down."

You're horrible and I hate you and this is the worst thing I've read in forever.

You're not me heartie anymore.

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I don't know about whitenes... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 10:32 AM | Posted by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

I don't know about whiteness, and this is not an original observation [hat tip Ed Kain] about withdrawal, but...
If you set up google searches so that it tries to complete your search request with the most common searches, we see...

"how do I get my boyfriend to"
is completed by "propose," "kiss me," and "want me"
"how do I get my girlfriend to"
is completed by "shut up," and "lose weight"
"how do I get my husband to"
is completed by "love me again," "notice me," "stop drinking"
"how do I get my wife to"
is completed by "want me" and "lose weight"

At least husbands want to be wanted.

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It is always you. And unle... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 10:37 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.
It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.

"But liberalism..."

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Actually that is an interes... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Posted, in reply to voyou's comment, by Doug: | Reply

Actually that is an interesting point: you [character in the ad] are a doofus f-ck up but the family still keeps you around like an annoying pet or the guy in the sit-com. How cute!

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This strikes home for me. I... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 12:37 PM | Posted by Maria: | Reply

This strikes home for me. I am forever distracted and 'checking out' because non-reality is more interesting, stimulating or easier than reality. What should I do? Being present takes a lot of will-power when there are tempting distractions around everywhere (facebook, blogs, TV, e-mail, Netflix, talking on the phone, drinking wine) and sometimes I think I've been good to realize I hadn't been -- I found a different distraction that didn't seem like one at first. For example, taking the girl on an outing on a rainy day became 'shopping for the perfect rain boots'; going to the zoo became 'able to sit in the car for two hours without having to do anything', an art and crafts project became 'how many circles can I cut out from the construction paper?'.

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You're going to light my ca... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 12:42 PM | Posted by karen: | Reply

You're going to light my cats on fire just for "bringing up" This American Life? Given the years of verbal and physical abuse I've experienced, for simply having my own opinions, perspective, & preferences, you're going to be lucky if I call the police.

"It isn't about being white or being a guy, but about the class of people who have inherited the earth and then withdrawn from it, leaving it to entropy."

Maybe it isn't, maybe it's about being from that class of people that systematically tries to prevent others from "do"-ing whatever using emotional manipulation and, if that doesn't work, outright violence.

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when will tlp comment on hi... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

when will tlp comment on his commenters in a post?

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"Africa's track record of s... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 12:49 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Africa's track record of statecraft is laughable."

Which has probably nothing to do with the fact that they were invaded by white people, who extracted Africans and sent them off to the Americas for forced labour, and then later settled in and exploited their resources as well.

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Hit a nerve, did it?<... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 2:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by I Reply Anonymously To The Anonymous: | Reply

Hit a nerve, did it?

You understand he doesn't actually hate white people or feel let down by them, right? He's observing that other people feel very let down by "the privileged class" and it's being reflected in the types of advertising people "like" or that works on them.

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his penis should have in... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 2:36 PM | Posted by Anon2312: | Reply

his penis should have instantly become a Staff of Osmium and Aggravated Assault

Just wanted to let the author know that made at least one reader laugh out loud.

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"Which has probably nothing... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 3:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Felan: | Reply

"Which has probably nothing to do with the fact that they were invaded by white people, who extracted Africans and sent them off to the Americas for forced labour, and then later settled in and exploited their resources as well."
It probably doesn’t have as much to do with it as you'd like. The collective-current-day- shallow-remembrance of history seems portray it far worse than it was in reality. Uncle Tom's Cabin was inflammatory and while there instances of the atrocities, it wasn't the common life of a slave. Not saying slavery is okay but pretending to know something because you've seen movies, read a pop culture book, or any other such isn't exactly being enlightened or thoughtful.
The Roman Empire slaughtered barbarians for sport; I saw it in a movie. Romans also feed Christians as fast as they could round them up to lions, read that in the bible. Vikings raided all along Europe. Really all the worlds’ woes started because of Romans and Vikings, so let’s thrash them some.
Instead of a triumph of human rights in ending slavery we still endure a punishment for slavery. Never mind slavery is older than white people were a “group”. Never mind blacks enslaved blacks. Never mind blacks sold blacks to the evil heartless whites. Never mind blacks enslaved whites. No white people are the sick bastards that should bear that cross.
The truth is that it’s just easiest to pretend that some identifiable segment is most responsible for the woes of the world. They should have done more, they had the power. If there was a bad thing that happened then clearly it was their responsibility as they have the power to make or stop it happening. If they start a business in a third world country because labor/materials is cheaper it is exploitation.
If a human should be concerned and conduct themselves in a way that is contrary to the events you cite in history then it is easy to zoom in on these people as “less than human”. That is the same exact sort of thinking the people in power had with regard to others. It’s just peacockism. One can and should learn from history.
People make mistakes. People are willfully blind to suffering. People are painfully touched by the plight of others. People make sacrifices. People are heroes and villains. Mostly people are just human. Claiming a skewed view of history to dislodge the guilt from your inaction to some other group, while cleverly making the group general enough to seem to include yourself (if you are white), is just another form of escapism.
Once upon a time it was thought those "savages" in Africa/America/Asia were incapable of civilization and it was the duty of Western society to spread civilization to them. Today it is thought that those "victims" in Africa/America (non-US/non-Canada)/Asia are incapable of the indignities they have endured. Both views are idiotic and paths to more sorrow.
A worthwhile matter to ponder is how to improve things. Pondering what may have resulted from some past action is worthwhile as a guide to what to watch and guard against. Absolving yourself of any responsibility by shifting the blame to the white people who are no longer around to defend or explain their actions is just a way to avoid dealing with anything.

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Your writing send chills up... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 4:17 PM | Posted by Adam Saleh: | Reply

Your writing send chills up my spine.

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Nooooooo.... Pleas... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 4:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Felan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Nooooooo....

Please let's all just agree someone was way off and not wander into the swamp of historical wrongs, alternate history or any related topics. Just pretend someone was trolling, don't feed the troll, ok?

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No, it has nothing to do wi... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 6:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

No, it has nothing to do with that.

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White guys working in adver... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 6:55 PM | Posted by Lise: | Reply

White guys working in advertising are smart to make fun of white guys in their ads because as long as we are laughing at them, we aren't dragging them to the guillotine.

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The soccer ad in particular... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 10:27 PM | Posted by Shylock Holmes: | Reply

The soccer ad in particular has the odd premise that the reason people spend too long on the phone is because of problems with the interface.

"Don't you just hate the clunky iPhone interface? Come and check out Microsoft's much better one, from the folks who brought you Windows Vista!"

Yeah, let me know how that one works out.

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The message I took away is ... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2010 5:23 AM | Posted by Gary: | Reply

The message I took away is that social avoidance is epidemic. My take is that it has been ever thus. Anthropologists informed us recently that the first encampment of humanity--the first time we stopped gathering and wandering--was for the purpose of distilling beer. Long before we were white dweebs seeking shelter in our technology and liquor, we were browner, probably more frightened and sickly dweebs seeking shelter in beer. In other words, what's new?

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Why doesn't middle class wh... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2010 9:02 AM | Posted by Charles Frith: | Reply

Why doesn't middle class white guy junior vector in with a predator drone on middle class white guy senior instead of a baseball on the head? He could strike lucky and take out a middle class wedding guest list too.

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Can this hatred of white me... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Can this hatred of white men be part of the reason why we all must endure unfunny women (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey) and namby-pamby guys like Jon Stewart?

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"Truth hurts, me hearties"<... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2010 5:04 PM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"Truth hurts, me hearties"

Is that just the rum talking or did it actually take you two months to come around and participate (albeit belatedly) in International Talk Like A Pirate Day ..?

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Alone, You missed an... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2010 9:13 AM | Posted by Dan: | Reply

Alone,
You missed an obvious one: White guys getting kicked or hit in the balls is FUNNY. You see it in sitcoms, in beer ads, in movies, etc.
Now, do you remember that ad with the woman getting hit in the crotch with a baseball? No????
Neither does anybody else.

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But it's white guys who thi... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 1:05 AM | Posted, in reply to Dan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

But it's white guys who think seeing other white guys getting hit in the nuts is funny...from America's Funniest Home Videos to Jackass, the audience being catered to is white guys who think white guys being hit in the nuts is funny.

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But I'm becoming c... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 3:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

But I'm becoming concerned that all this is is a list of problems; just a giant gripe list, without any real attempt to go about outlining a plan or solution.

The problem is you:

the problem is you. It is always you. And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.

Ok, fine, but what then?

Once I (or we or they) recognize that I'm lazy and stupid and self-centered, what then? I respect the analysis in these posts, but I feel it's not really that productive to just say "stop doing that."

Once you recognize that the problem is you, you'll also see that the solution is you.

Have you solved yourself? No? Don't know where to start?

Try this:

It's worth remembering that all the idiots you hate are people like you, and to their eyes you're just another idiot mixed in with the idiots THEY hate.

Now go. Heal thyself.

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This might explain why divo... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This might explain why divorce is so high.
Guy thinks he is x, wife knows he is y.
Unless guy is tuned in to reality, it wont work out.
Even worse when guy is demoted to y, & it's obvious to all that his
station in life is y, enter crises & divorce.

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"They" can make fun of whit... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:26 PM | Posted by Morgan: | Reply

"They" can make fun of white guys because they can take it. You only feel the punch if you can't.

Perhaps status is not undeserved, it is rightfully attained... and we should all take a bit more time to recognize the smaller things, after all they are small, and are hungry for your good grace.

Windows Mobile 7: for Corporate Executives who admittedly need to squeeze out a few more moments for the little people.

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Lise,Who are we dr... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 10:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Lise's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Lise,

Who are we dragging to the guillotine? white guys, or white guys working in advertising

If it's the second group, I'm in with that.

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I just saw one commercial w... (Below threshold)

November 28, 2010 4:57 PM | Posted by Ted: | Reply

I just saw one commercial where a white guy was noble, smart, protective, pledging his eternal presence, and about to get real sex. It was a diamond commercial. I'm just sayin'...

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So women should star... (Below threshold)

November 28, 2010 6:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


So women should start marrying the person and not his social role. I thought Feminism was supposed to free women from that, to enable them to establish their own social standing for themselves.

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AT&T Simplify Your L... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 1:29 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


AT&T Simplify Your Life video contest - Kill Bills

http://simplify.att.com/videos/kill-bills

I just found this AT&T Simplify Your Life video

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AT&T Simplify Your L... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 1:35 AM | Posted by juan: | Reply


AT&T Simplify Your Life video contest - Kill Bills

http://simplify.att.com/videos/kill-bills

I just found this AT&T Simplify Your Life video

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AT&T Simplify Your L... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 1:36 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


AT&T Simplify Your Life video contest - Kill Bills

http://simplify.att.com/videos/kill-bills

I just found this AT&T Simplify Your Life video

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The middle was very potent<... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2010 1:36 AM | Posted by DJ flee: | Reply

The middle was very potent

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Feminism didn't enable anyo... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2010 3:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Hi: | Reply

Feminism didn't enable anyone to do or be anything. It gave women the right to be active, informed participants in politics, business, academia, and, most importantly, their own fates.
However, since women, by nature, are very similar to men, most will never be active and certainly not informed in politics, business, general education, and, especially, not in their own courses of life.
Taking responsibility for one's own education, managing money, reading up on what the presidential candidates actually said and actively making choices that affect one's life is hard, scary and not fun... You know? Just like for men.

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This post is nonsense, ads ... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2011 7:35 PM | Posted by purana: | Reply

This post is nonsense, ads would never EVER insult blacks or gays, name one example. It's true that they're meant to get people to buy stuff, but it's usually the women who buy stuff, and this "doofus white hubbie" character is meant to appeal to them. The ad industry is full of gays and Jews (and gay Jews) who are driven by envy, fear, and hatred of heterosexual white men, and they're the ones who are making these ads.

This is psychological warfare by a parasitic elite. "Reengaging" wouldn't translate into doing your kid's homework, it would translate into something else.

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"Whatever your racial prefe... (Below threshold)

March 30, 2013 5:01 PM | Posted by tsg: | Reply

"Whatever your racial preference, agree that the world to this point was owned and operated by Whitey & Sons, Inc, and boy oh boy, did Sons butcher it. From the "economic crisis" to "unnecessary wars" to widening income gaps, global warming to outstandingly bad television, the world/America was promised there'd peace, prosperity and tube cars in 2010 and now it's worse than it was under Carter. The military said they could protect us, Goldman Sachs said stocks would go up in the long run, Congress said they got this. Nope, nope, nopedy dope."

-if a higher standard of living isn't enough for you then it's pride that's behind the gripes and the reason you're working for pap ngyuen and not the other way round. subway and mcdonald's wouldn't just advertise directly to blacks and latinos for the fun of it.
-sons butchered it. 'buck stops here' i get that. and yes blaming the victim is cowardly but it isn't always wrong, so here it goes: rather than supplanting the great white provider and assuming his responsibilities or even trying to join him at top, most of us demanded he subsidize our economic and social ascension. and he paid, thereby guaranteeing any victory we won would be incomplete, and even though we got exactly what we asked for, it's still somehow his fault that we didn't end up elbow to elbow. so now that we've gotten just about as much as we can out of him, blamed it on him when we still felt impotent (we never asked for his rspbility), and all reasonable slogans (fairness, equality, duty) for asking for more are out of the question, we resort to something we know he'll respond to: we laser-focus on his failures, so we can tell him to give more rather than ask him. ridicule is effective and it's something he understands because it's something inherited power is afraid of. many of them (the collateral damage type, the sheilds) will go along with it, but it won't work. we're still in a position of weakness and condescension from a position of weakness, no matter how slick the ad, is a sure sign that the battle has been lost. it's a coping mechanism. it's still a defense against that thought in the back of our heads "ships inevitably sink, can't blame everything on the cap'n, and all things considered, maybe he did as good a job as could be done. maybe WE would have sunk it sooner." so why wouldn't they leave the rest to entropy under these conditions: say 'i can do it by myself' long enough and eventually you get what you ask for.
-wait, are you saying the feeling that sons failed is justified, or are you just pointing out that the feeling exists?
-jesus my pronouns are all messed up in this post but I'm not going back and fixing them. I'm not part of WE I don't think. I'm white and i fear i'm a dummy and I can't help my reflex to defend doofus dad in these ad, even if I don't want to hang out with him.

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[url=http://www.softassembl... (Below threshold)

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