Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Pandora's Gold Box

I find it a little disconcerting that, in the information age--or, as I like to call it, The Dawn of the Fat Immobilized Slobs--we are so increasingly identified by what we consume. Half of the blogs out there include a little section on the music we're currently listening to, books we're currently reading and movies we could stand to sit through until Angelina Jolie appeared on screen and we were reminded of how she broke up Brad & Jennifer's perfect marriage, complete with a link to in case we're so overpowered by the recommendation that we have to buy it right this second!

The internet culture is built for this very thing, where everything we buy is automatically registered with some giant marketing firm five miles underground who then use the information to figure out the ideal location for their latest Starbucks: fifty steps from our gym and twenty-five steps from where we buy our cat litter. Which reminds me, I need to buy cat litter.

Seriously, the bathroom smells awful.

But back to the consumer thing...A friend of ours, a very nice, well-meaning friend, has invited us to be part of her Netflix Friends circle. This means that she would be able to see that we've rented a movie and how we've rated it upon return, using this INFORMATION (there's that word again) to adjust her own DVDecisions. I find this whole concept at best sad and at worst pants-shittingly frightening. On the sad end, if you have such trouble making up your mind about what to rent; if even and Ebert & Roeper & Ollie aren't enough help; if you have to call upon your chums to make even decisions this easy, then you should just get yourself one of those twenty-sided Dungeons & Dragons dice and let it make all your life-choices for you, from what to have for breakfast to who to think about while masturbating. On the frightening end, it's bad enough that I and the video clerk know that I returned Bio Dome three days late. Now it's going to be general public knowledge?

Today, I made a rather large purchase on Amazon. I had to spend a hundred bucks as part of the Teacher's Choice program that NYC Public Schools have. See, in December, they give you two hundred dollars, which every teacher in existence spends on Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Insert holiday here presents and then you have to turn in receipts to justify your expenses by the end of March, which, for me, usually means that I'm scrambling down the aisles at Staples putting enough construction paper in my cart to take me over the 200 mark.

This year, I decided that I'd support my school library and buy books of plays that my students could use next year when I tell them they have to bring in a scene to perform and they're too lazy to go to the Public Library. So I went to Amazon and pointed and clicked some stuff that looked good.

Before this, I'd mostly bought/looked at/added to my Wish List trade paperback collections of comic books, music that I never get around to buying and the occasional Lord of the Rings DVD. Which meant that My Page, the specially designed for Me welcome page on Amazon, would show me that the new Starman collection was coming out soon or suggest that I "treat myself" to the latest Neko Case CD. I got so used to seeing this sort of me-centric marketing that it was a bit jarring when I went to Amazon after making my purchase today and discovered that, thanks to a large order of books aimed at seventh-graders, I now had the welcome page of a Scottsdale housewife.

Seriously, where they once tried to sell me They Might Be Giants DVDs, they're now hawking slimming lingerie and cheap crystal stemware. I've suggested before that we should fuck with the marketers in any way we can. I'm feeling that more than ever. This is my request of you, the would-be activist who thinks about going down to the protest march and throwing rocks at the cops but then gets involved in a What Not to Wear marathon on BBC America. While you're sitting there on your ass, take a few seconds to go to Amazon and just look at really stupid, horrendous shit that you wouldn't buy if your life depended on it. Add Carrot-Top movies to your wish list. Browse through some Steve and Edie CDs. Let's make The Parables of Peanuts the most viewed book on the site.

Marketers deserve to be foiled wherever and whenever they can be. Actually, they deserve to have maple syrup and fire ants poured into their undies, but let's start small.

OMG! I love What Not to Wear on BBC America!
Post a Comment

<< Home