Ooh That Smell, Can You Smell That Smell?

From the WABC 7 report on the scourge of Tide thefts across the nation, a reminder of what years of Subservient Chicken has done to our national psyche:

So, this isn't a joke or the latest Proctor [sic] and Gamble ad campaign.

Posted: March 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Half-Baked Theory | Tags: , , ,

For Me And So, So Many Others The Period From 2000 To 2009 Was One Long Rick Roll

I used to think that the years from 2000 to 2009 would be best known as the Decade of Contrarianism. In the heyday of contrarian thinking, stuff like "Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green" was so easy to read (not that everyone agreed; I remember one commenter complaining, "I realize I'm an over-the-hill Gen X'er, but Wired is really starting to irk me with its meme of 'everything you think you know about [subject X] is wrong; here's why' stories").

By the end of the decade, "cracking the cognitive egg and scrambling it up" actually became good for your health. Alex Pareene's "Encyclopedia of Counterintuitive Thought" summed up what I assumed to be the great defining characteristic of the 2000s and collected all the greatest examples. Stuff like "Exercise is bad for you," "Nepotism is good," and "Radiohead isn't a good band."

Anyway, I thought the 2000s were the Decade of Contrarianism. And then I saw the Delta Lady:

Delta 2815, February 5, 2011

Both Goober and I were like, "Why is this lady with this fuck-me look telling me to fasten my seat belt and not smoke?" What's with that weird head-on shot, that zsa-zsa-zsu finger wag, those Angelina Jolie lips (I was surprised no one compared her to Christina Hendricks until I realized that this was sort of from before Christina Hendricks broke).

If you haven't flown Delta recently, this is what they show:

After I posted the picture the other day, Frank emailed to say that he found this lady so strange, too. He wondered if it got less strange over time, like the suits at Delta reined her in or something. So I Googled it. And wouldn't you know it, there's nothing strange about her at all — she was designed to be a YouTube sensation:

And what's more, this was so 2008. I guess we hadn't flown Delta since before 2008. But more importantly, if I'm such a internet-savvy guy, how exactly did I miss this particular internet meme?

I mean, I felt like I was right on top of that Ruby Tuesday viral thing:

And that Gatorade ball girl ad? Duh, obvi:

Lonelygirl15? Pfft. I mean, I'm so used to this stuff that I couldn't even enjoy Catfish.

Which is why it's so painful to think that I've been Rick Rolled into paying attention to commercials. And maybe the idea that the 2000s were all about cheeky counter-intuitive wisdom was itself wrong: The 2000s were actually the Viral Decade. The GoDaddy.com Decade. Maybe even the Rick Roll Decade. And now your contrarianism folds in on itself. Like an Inception on Contrarianism. Oh wait, that was 2010 — wrong decade . . .

And Frank, I think I finally figured out what you were seeing — it's sort of like Sunset Boulevard: The in-flight video is as strange as it has always been — it's just everything else around it got just as strange.

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Half-Baked Theory | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Theater As The Last Bastion For The C-Word

Mamet, LaBute (see, for example, discussion about the two of them) and now Ethan Coen; three and it's a trend:

City Lights follows a butthead musician, Ted (Joey Slotnick), who spends an awkward afternoon with Kim (Aya Cash), a ditzy stranger, and her judgy friend Marci (Cassie Beck). Kim pursues Ted though she knows he's a "dream squasher." The play's nihilistic denouement — Ted drives Kim out of his apartment, bellowing "Cunt!" — meets only Neil LaBute's standard for nuance.

What is it about theater where playwrights feel obligated to beat audiences over the head with that one word that still shocks? You get the sense that in the recesses of a writer's mind, he or she (generally "he," it seems) defaults to the C-word because if it weren't for it, nothing else that happens on a stage would move people. It's sort of like, "C-word! Pay attention! Still relevant!" Did Ethan Coen — as someone who is primarily a filmmaker — subconsciously pull the C-word from the Mamets and LaButes before him?

Posted: December 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Half-Baked Theory | Tags: ,